Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado” is a work of various moods, although most of them are dark and sardonic. Some of the moods presented in the work (which are inevitably also the moods of Montresor, the first-person narrator) are the following:
- Vengeful, as in the story’s opening sentence.
- Self-admiring and arrogant, as in the next two sentences:
You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitively settled -- but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with impunity.
- Hypocritical, as in the story’s second paragraph.
- Judgmental, as in the story’s third paragraph.
- Conspiratorial and self-satisfied, as when Montresor explains how he manipulated his own servants: “I had told them that I should not return until the morning.”
- Comical and condescending, as when Montresor describes the drunkenness of Fortunato: “The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode.”
- Ironic, as when Montresor says, to the man he intends to kill, “your health is precious.”
- Gothic, as when one part of the dark, gloomy setting is described as follows: “At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious.”
- Gruesome and horrific, as when the Montresor hears Fortunato awakening before Montresor has completed his scheme to seal Fortunato behind a wall of bricks:
The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning cry from the depth of the recess. It was not the cry of a drunken man.
- Terrifying, as when Montresor admits that even he is afraid when he hears Fortunato laughing from behind the bricks: “But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head.”
- Somewhat blasphemous and irreligious, as when, hearing Fortunato beg that he be released “[f]or the love of God,” Montresor replies: “Yes," I said, "for the love of God!"
- Smug, as in the story’s next-to-last sentence.