illustration of Fortunato standing in motley behind a mostly completed brick wall with a skull superimposed on the wall where his face should be

The Cask of Amontillado

by Edgar Allan Poe

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From whose perspective, Fortunato's or the listener's, could you write a few sentences? Why does Poe use first-person in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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1) Write a few sentences from the point of view of Fortunato or of the listener.

From the listener's perspective, Montresor's narrative is engaging and disturbing at once. Montresor begins by giving his macabre confession about the murder of Fortunato. According to Montresor, Fortunato wounded him in "a thousand" ways, and Montresor is justified in seeking revenge. However, from the listener's perspective, it is clear that Fortunato may not be the most reliable narrator. The listener is drawn into the increasing suspense of the story as Montresor explains his intention to kill Fortunato in such a way that he will be aware of the fact that his suffering is an act of revenge.

2) Why does Poe use the first-person point of view in "The Cask of Amontillado?"

"The Cask of Amontillado" is told from Montresor's perspective in order to create a heightened sense of suspense that builds throughout the story. Because the story is being told by Montresor, his recollection of events is often thrown into question. This leaves the reader to wonder whether any of Montresor's claims of vengeance are true or whether he is simply mad. The central event of the story, or Fortunato's murder, would be less jarring if it was told from the victim's perspective. The first-person perspective allows the narrator to build up to the murder with his own remembrances, preparations, and ponderings on his motivations. The true horror of the story is encapsulated in the rapture in which Montresor lures his victim to his death and relishes his torment.

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