What is an example of situational irony in "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe?

2 Answers

favoritethings's profile pic

favoritethings | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

One example of situational irony from this story is when Montresor explains that he told his servants that he would "not return until the morning" and had given them "explicit orders" to remain in the home in his absence.  For this reason, he knows that they would not be there and his house would be empty when he returned with Fortunato.  One would expect servants to listen to their master's order, especially when it is given so explicitly, but their behavior defies expectation.

Another example of situational irony is that Fortunato is dressed as a fool or jester.  Montresor says that he "wore motley" with a snug, multicolored outfit topped by a conical hat studded with bells.  It was common to wear a costume associated with one's opposite -- men might dress as women and vice versa, the poor might dress like the rich, and so forth -- and Fortunato is not a fool.  In fact, Montresor himself claims that Fortunato "was a man to be respected and even feared."  However, Montresor makes a fool of Fortunato tonight, condemning Fortunato for his pride, the pride which makes it funny for him to be dressed as a fool.  Therefore, it is ironic that Fortunato believes that he has dressed as his opposite, a fool to his real respectability, and then is actually made foolish by the exploitation of his own flaws.