Irony, the contrast between appearance and reality, is another
important element. Montresor chooses the carnival season, a time of
celebration, to carry out his revenge. He uses reverse psychology
to make sure his servants will not be home. We are aware of M.'s
deceit between what he's thinking and what he says to Fortunato.
"Come, we will go back; your health is precious." He toasts F.'s
good health and long life. Perhaps the best example of irony
is in M.'s requirements for successful revenge: he must
not be punished for his crime, and F. must realize why
he's being killed. M., confessing his crime fifty years later to
repent for it, takes too much pleasure in retelling it, so he
violates the rules of confession. F. never knows why M. kills him,
and he dies too quickly. M. doesn't get successful revenge in
Foreshadowing and symbolism are other elements.
Montresor's coat of arms is "A huge human foot d'or, in a
field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are
imbedded in the heel." His family motto expresses that no one
will harm me without punishment. Both are great clues as to how M.
will seek his revenge later and symbolize the kind of man M. is.
The catacombs is a perfect place for M. to carry out his act,
providing us with dark, horrific images.
The ultimate effect of irony and symbolism is to give us a
grotesque tale set in the mind of an evil narrator.