What are the pros and cons of "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Literature is not typically discussed in terms of its "pros and cons," so I'm only guessing at what you might mean here. Perhaps we can examine a few literary elements which might be helpful to you in your assessment of the pros and cons of this story. 

Characters--are the characters believable and consistent?  Yes, though the single-mindedness and vengefulness of Montressor are relatively foreign concepts to most of us.  Fortunado we understand better, as he is easily led to his destruction by his pride.

Setting--is the setting appropriate for this story?  No one does setting better than Poe.  He creates an atmosphere and environment perfectly suited to his characters and theme.

Theme--does the theme have universal appeal?  Perhaps so.  If we deal with the idea of excessive pride leading to a fall, yes.  If we concentrate on the concept of revenge and retribution, the message is mixed, at best.

Style--does the author's style contribute to the effectiveness of the work?  Certainly this must be answered "yes."  from the openng lines, we anticipate a dark and chilling story.

Poe is generally recognized as the father--and master--of the American short story.  However you decide to define "pros and cons," this is an effective work in the areas listed above, so I guess it has more "pros" than cons."  Hope this helps!

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous post was a very accurate one. "The Cask of Amontillado" is one of the very finest American short stories ever written; and its author, Edgar Allan Poe is considered a master of the short story. There are very few, if any, "cons" to name concerning either the story or its writer. The story is solid from beginning to end, with strongly defined characters and a strong mood of impending doom throughout. The setting is appropriately creepy, and the ending is surprising in its creative way of bloodless murder. Poe even injects a bit of black humor in his nearly perfect tale of revenge.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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