Which sentences contribute to the overall eerie mood of this excerpt from “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe? The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own fancy...

Which sentences contribute to the overall eerie mood of this excerpt from “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe?

The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own fancy grew warm with the Medoc. We had passed through long walls of piled skeletons, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs. I paused again, and this time I made bold to seize Fortunato by an arm above the elbow.

"The niter!" I said. "See, it increases. It hangs like moss upon the vaults. We are below the river's bed. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones. Come, we will go back ere it is too late. Your cough--"

"It is nothing," he said; "let us go on. But first, another draught of the Medoc."

I broke and reached him a flagon of De Grave. He emptied it at a breath. His eyes flashed with a fierce light. He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand.

I looked at him in surprise. He repeated the movement--a grotesque one.

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beateach's profile pic

beateach | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Sentences that contribute to the overall eerie mood of the “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe are spread throughout.

Consider the following sentence: "We had passed through long walls of piled skeletons, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs." This speaks of the remains of dead beings in skeleton form which were in the catacombs or deep underground tombs, thus setting a macabre mood.

Another sentence that sets the mood is, "We are below the river's bed. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones." It describes the setting: a dark, dank place where the water drips off the roof of the tunnel onto bones that are laying on the ground.

The eerie mood is extended into the last passage: "I broke and reached him a flagon of De Grave. He emptied it at a breath. His eyes flashed with a fierce light. He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand. I looked at him in surprise. He repeated the movement --a grotesque one." 

We read of a gross alcohol induced gesture that is inexplicably repeated, which adds to the eeriness. The gesture is gross and questionable which takes the mood to an eerie place.

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tinicraw's profile pic

tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Mood has to do with the way a person feels while reading; therefore, word choice, imagery, and figures of speech that are used in a story can contribute to creating a distinct feeling for audiences. Poe creates an eerie mood in "The Cask of Amontillado" by describing the environment surrounding Fortunado and Montressor as they walk down a long passage through catacombs and wine vaults. The scene is also at night, which makes the sentences in the excerpt provided spookier. The sentences which help to create this eerie mood are as follows:

1. "We had passed through long walls of piled skeletons, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs."

2. "It hangs like moss upon the vaults. We are below the river's bed. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones."

3. "He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand."

The first example from the excerpt as shown above points out that the two men walk past piled skeletons. The fact that skeletons are piled on top of each other suggests carelessness and disregard for those who have died. Not only that, seeing corpses or skeletons lying about haphazardly can certainly give someone the heebie-jeebies. Then, knowing that they are deep inside of catacombs might give someone a claustrophobic feeling, which isn't comfortable, either.

Next, Montressor points out that they are below the river and that water is getting in among the bones. The mood at this moment is not only creepy but gives off an unsafe feeling. It is eerie to think that a leak could spring out of the rocks and bones to drown the men at any moment! 

Finally, and most surprisingly, Fortunado appears to be losing his mind. Of course, he is drunk; but when he laughs, throws the wine bottle up, and behaves in a way that Montresor doesn't understand, this shows that he is unpredictable, which compounds the intensity of the eerie scene. 

 

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