What are two examples in Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" that place the story in the Gothic Tradition?Actual examples from the story... Like quote certain lines of the book that make it gothic...

What are two examples in Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" that place the story in the Gothic Tradition?

Actual examples from the story... Like quote certain lines of the book that make it gothic literature..

Asked on by savyyy333

1 Answer | Add Yours

docholl1's profile pic

Stephen Holliday | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Although "The Cask of Amontillado" avoids one of the hallmark's of the Gothic, a supernatural occurrence or agent in the story, Poe includes sufficient Gothic elements to put this story squarely in that tradition.

A staple Gothic element is the setting, which is usually a run-down, mysterious castle, monastery or chateau.  In this case, the setting is underground in the Montresor catacombs underneath Montresor's chateau--a damp, claustrophobic passageway, dripping with nitre from its proximity to a water source, leading always downward.  Fortunato doesn't know this, but he is descending a stairway to Hell rather than to sample a rare wine.  This is the perfect Gothic setting for a tale in which nothing good is going to occur.  As Montresor describes their progress downward, he notes that they "descended, passed on, and descending again, arrived at a deep crypt," and the oxygen content is so low that their torches are beginning to flicker.  Another classic Gothic element is along the walls of the catacombs, the bones of countless Montresor ancestors buried there.

One of the most important aspects of gothicism is the atmosphere of mystery and suspense the pervades the story.  In this case, we know that Montresor has something horrific waiting for Fortunato, but we are in the dark ourselves, and I think it's safe to say that we are about as horrified as Fortunato when we realize what his punishment is.

The last Gothic element--one of the most effective--occurs at the very end after Montresor has almost walled up Fortunato but has left enough of an opening to stick his torch through to see what Fortunato is doing.  After calling to Fortunato and getting no reply, Montresor looks in and says, "There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells."  This is a particularly horrifying detail when we recall that Fortunato is in the costume of a fool or court jester--the juxtaposition of the costume with the reality of his situation is a great Gothic detail with which to leave Fortunato in his grave.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question