What are some specific connections between the character and the central idea in "The Cask of Amontillado"?I am trying to understand, how a specific character evolves throughout the story...

What are some specific connections between the character and the central idea in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

I am trying to understand, how a specific character evolves throughout the story and thus conveys the central idea of the story.

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grlucas eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a broad question, but here are some ideas.

You might begin by looking at the names of the central characters: Fortunato and Montressor. The former's -- "the fortunate one" -- name seems ironic, at first. Perhaps it is a joke: he is fortunate, because he's drunk, blissfully naive that his life is about to end -- indeed his motley seems to suggest this. It could be a commentary on his position in life, something that Montressor envies to the bone.

Montressor, or "my treasure," suggests monster. Indeed, his descent into the catacombs parallels his atavism into something sub-rational: an unrepentant murderer. His guise -- and this addresses your question specifically -- mirrors that of the cask of anomtillado: it is false. The title of the story is does not exist in reality: it is a creation of Montressor's -- perhaps the deathbed confession is his treasure.

Montressor is an egomaniac, and since he remains unrepentant on his deathbed, the story is like Gollum showing us his ring. He can't help it; it's part of a treasure that he guards selfishly, but that he must share for it to remain valuable. Another simile might be a cask of rare wine. Any veneer of civility that Montressor might have had is slowly replaced by a monster by the story's end.

I'm not sure about just one "central idea," but the dangers of pride provoked by envy is definitely an idea that should be considered.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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