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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What are the falling action and resolution in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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The falling action and resolution are the final two pieces of a story's dramatic structure, usually following closely after the climax. The falling action begins the process of wrapping up any loose ends that may still exist at the finale of a story, and it is usually a more subdued section than the more-exciting climax that precedes it. The resolution (or denouement) is the final part of a story's structure in which

Conflicts are resolved, creating normality for the characters and a sense of catharsis, or release of tension and anxiety, for the reader.  (Wikipedia, Dramatic Structure) 

In "The Cask of Amontillado," the climax comes when Montresor surprises Fortunato, staples him to the floor, and procedes to wall the man up. The falling action occurs after Fortunato is securely chained and Montresor painstakingly completes the final tiers of the wall. It includes the maniacal laughter by Fortunato and the two men's final responses. The resolution can be found in the final sentences when the narrator reveals to the reader that he has gotten away with the murder: That Fortunato's remains were never found and that

For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!

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What is the outcome and the resolution in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

They are not entirely different. The resolution refers to that point when the conflict within the story is resolved. This happens in stages in "The Cask of Amontillado." The main conflict involves the insult Montressor feels he has endured from Fortunato. This conflict is resolved(for the most) when we realize Montressor's plan for revenge and the details of how it will be accomplished, i.e. chaining him to the wall and beginning to brick him in. The outcome of the story is the death of Fortunato, which never occurs in the story and we can only infer as readers. This would explain how they are different. One occurs within the story, the other does not.

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How is the conflict of "The Cask of Amontillado" resolved?

First it is important to determine what the prime conflict is in "The Cask of Amontillado". Montresor believes that Fortunato has caused him a "thousand injuries," and he has suffered as long as possible until he feels that Fortunato "venture[s] upon insult." This source of tension drives the plot of the story, which primarily centers around Montresor's efforts to rid himself of Fortunato and thereby relieve himself of the constant "insults."

The conflict is resolved, therefore, when it is clear that Fortunato will die. Fortunato begs for his life near the end, screaming, "For the love of God, Montresor!" Montresor repeats this phrase, not in a pleading tone but in absolute condemnation: "Yes ... for the love of God." It is at this point that his commitment to his plan is certain; Fortunato will die. The conflict will be resolved.

Even fifty years later, Montresor feels relief and peace that he was able to finally rid himself from this source of conflict.

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