ALLUSIONS IN EDGAR ALLAN POE'S "THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO"
An allusion is a literary figure of speech that makes a brief "reference to, or representation of, a place, event, literary work, myth, or work of art, either directly or by implication." The term is often mistaken for what is otherwise a "simple reference." There are several examples of allusions in "TCOA."
- "He prided himself on his connoisseur-ship in wine. Few Italians have the true virtuoso spirit. For the most part their enthusiasm is adopted to suit the time and opportunity, to practise imposture upon the British and Austrian millionaires." -- The mention of the "British and Austrian millionaires" is an allusion to the subjects whom the Italian wine experts aim their verbal expertise.
- "It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend." -- This alludes to the annual carnival (presumably in an unidentified Italian town), which occurs throughout many parts of the world.
- “ 'I forget your arms.' ”
“ 'A huge human foot d'or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.' ”
“ 'And the motto?' ” '
" 'Nemo me impune lacessit.' " -- Poe alludes here to both the Montressor coat-of-arms and the family motto.
- “ 'Then you are not of the brotherhood.' "
“ 'How?' ”
“ 'You are not of the masons.' ” -- An important allusion in the story, Fortunato is asking Montressor (by flashing a secret sign) if he is a member of the Freemasons, a secret brotherhood. Although Montressor claims that he is a member, he is not; instead, in an ironic twist, he holds up a trowel in response to the hand sign displayed by Fortunato. The trowel is a masonry tool--the one which will seal Fortunato's doom.