The cask of amontillado

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"THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO" (1846)


  • “The thousand injuries” done by Fortunato to Montresor = ???

  • “insult”" that provoked Montresor's revenge = ???

  • “you” = "who well know the nature of my soul" = ???

    • wife, God (story = confession, prayer), priest, Fortunato , self???




  • I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. A wrong is equally unredredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.”

    • delaying vengeance

    • taking credit for revenge, let the victim know

    • impunity = exemption from punishment, harm, penalty

    • see Montresor family motto




  • planned revenge for a long time...all the while pretending to be Fortunato's friend, not letting on that he's planning revenge...OR telling Fortunato that he was hurt by him & thereby addressing the issue maturely

    • faked smile (HAMLET)

    • smile = thinking about Fortunato's “immolation” (sacrifice, death by sacrifice)




      • Fortunato's weakness = connoisseurship of wine (wine expert); respected & feared in other regards

    • Vanity, Pride

    • *true motives:

      • Montresor = afraid of Fortunato...that's why Montresor doesn't talk to Fortunato directly about injuries & insult

      • Montresor = jealous of Fortunato

-------------(uncharacteristic amount of dialogue for a POE story)-------------

PRETENSE:


  • Italians affect a connoisseurship of wines, paintings, gemmary to impress British & Austrian millionaires

  • Fortunato = only expert in wines




CARNIVAL:

  • dusk, Fortunato = drunk, wearing FOOL'S clothes

  • reversal of social ladder ( Fortunato's clothes)

    • “mundus reversus”

  • carnage” + “level” (release, pressure release),

  • farewell, flesh” (Medieval Latin: "carne vale")

  • period of festival before LENT, including Mardi gras (“fat Tuesday”) or Shrovetide

    • an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches (dictionary.com)

    • confess sins before Lent

    • (Christ, sacrifice)

  • Saturnalia, Dionysian, Corpus Christi. Fastnacht

  • Feast of Fools (12/26-FT)






TRAP:

Reverse Psychology:

  • appeals to Fortunato's vanity, pride, lechery/drunkenness

    • WRUG?”: Connie's vanity

    • Good Country People”: Joy/Hulga's pride, arrogance

    • Chrysanthemums”: Elisa’s pride of her flowers

  • *AMONTILLADO:
    • expensive Spanish wine;


    • pale, dry sherry (strong wine);

    • Montilla = Spanish town

  • cask = barrel

  • Montresor claims to have bought a cask

    • ("pipe"--any tubular form, @ 126 gallons [c.500liters]) of Amontillado, a rarity during carnival, but claims he doubts its genuineness b/c of the supply (thinks he's been swindled)

    • plays the victim, dupe in order to make Fortunato the victim, dupe

  • appeals to F.'s vanity: I should have consulted you 1st, your expertise b/4 buying it

  • appeals to F.'s pride: perhaps he should have gone to LUCHESI

  • pretends friendship: too cold/damp in vault b/c of potassium nitrate (crystalline preservative, KNO3) also used in chemistry (reagent, oxidizing agent), medicine, in fertilizers, gunpowder (*2 in 1*)

  • palazzo: palace, palatial building

  • roquelaire: heavy, knee-length silk-lined, fur-trimmed cloak worn by 18thC men (roquelaure, French duke)

  • Montresor had sent the servants home for the night (carnival!!)

    • claimed he was going away, would not be back until the next day

    • they immediately went to carnival as soon as his back was turned

    • as he knew they would = REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY

  • flambeaux: lighted torch; ornamental candlestick (French)



(European: British & Austrian tourists; Spanish wine, French cloak & torch, wine; Italian palace)



  • F. = drunk: leans on M.'s arm to walk, unsteady gait, bells on his Fool's cap jingle

  • F. = sick (cough!), perhaps already dying??? (IRONY)

  • IRONY: F. won't die of a cough & M. readily agrees (irony of situation, verbal irony)

  • IRONY: "...we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter."

    • * real reason M. wants to kill F. = jealousy

    • * Professor Baglioni in "Rappaccini's Daughter"

    • further ensnares Fortunato w/ his Pride (Luchesi), M.'s fake friendship (health)

  • to fight the chill, dampness of vault, sip on Medoc (red Bordeaux wine, French) – get more DRUNK

  • IRONY: M. drinks to F.'s “long life”




Montresor COAT of ARMS:

  • golden foot, in blue field, crushing serpent that's biting its heel



  • self-destruction of vengeance, BOTH die (foreshadowing)

  • Genesis 3:15: judgment upon the Serpent in the Garden of Eden

    • (* PURIC VICTORY *)

    • And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

  • motto: Nemo me impune lacessit (“No one attacks me without paying dearly”)

    • foreshadowing
    • impunity








  • affectation: boldly grabs F.'s arms to go back (health), very damp below the river bed now….MASKS

  • flagon of DeGrave (IRONY of name--foreshadowing); drunk, downed in one gulp

  • F. = mason: (Masonic lodge)

    • M.'s TRUE MOTIVES: professional jealousy; F. is a member but M. is not, pretends to be, but did not recognize F. gesture

    • IRONY: "brotherhood" but M. does act in a brotherly fashion ("Hunters in the Snow")

    • foreshadowing: TROWEL that M. has hidden in his cloak

    • F.'s drunkenness, recoils in fear when sees Trowel, "you jest" echoed at the end




  • descent into HELL: concentric circles, narrowing, trapping, smaller & smaller spaces; more noxious smells that make the flames burn brighter (sulphur); lined with human skulls and bones

  • descent into M.’s SOUL: just like hell

  • interior crypt:

    • lined with bones on 3 sides

    • 4th side = HOLE (4x3x6/7 --depth, width, height) recently made, hidden tools under mound

  • Luchesi, one last time

  • IMAGERY: F. goes into hole, M. "immediately at his heels" = coat of arms (snake wrapping itself around F.'s heel)

  • TRAP!

    • fettered F. to granite, links around his waist

    • F. = too drunk to realize what's happening, to resist, still asking @ the amontillado

  • MEAN:
    • asks F. one more time to go back...when he's already shackeled to the wall!


    • stops building the wall & sits on bones to listen to F. screaming & struggling against the chains

    • screamed mockingly along w/ F.

  • FEAR: scared by a series of loud screams, pulls out his sword & stabs into the hole w/it (afraid of Fortunato*)

  • fear sobers Fortunato quickly  moans, rattles chains, realizes his predictament, screams

(midnight)

*REGRET, CONSCIENCE:


    • struggles to put last stone in (or heavy? long night/hard labor?);

    • placed it in only partially; "My heart grew sick" (blamed on chill of catacombs);

    • "forced" the last into position

    • conscience

  • LAUGH: no longer drunk, perhaps INSANE now, from fear/panic; he thinks it's "a very good joke"; perhaps he = PRACTICAL JOKER so thinks its a joke *

  • IRONY: "let US be gone": M. means F.'s death; BUT "us" means the death of M. too via this murder (conscience)

  • IRONY: "for the love of God": while he's killing a man

  • *MOCK PRAYER*

  • throws his torch into the aperture, no more sounds, last stone

  • mock-prayer, liturgy: statement-response, echo




  • 50 years later: "For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them."

    • IRONY: no "mortal", ghost perhaps, conscience

  • In pace requiescat!” = Let him rest in peace

    • IRONY: Fortunato is at peace, BUT Montresor is not at peace (conscience)

    • “in pace” = in a secure monastic prison
    • SARCASTIC? MOCKING?: free of remorse & conscience


    • IRONIC? GUILT-RIDDEN?




  • Montresor = haunted by:

    • guilt, conscience of murder

    • guilt of killing a friend

    • Fortunato's screams, laugh

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UNANSWERED QUESTIONS


  • What were the “thousand injuries” & final “insult”?

    • something concerning wine?

    • something concerning Montresor's family, crest?

    • Hunters in the Snow”: Fortunato = Kenny (practical joker, goes too far), Montresor = Tub, Frank




  • To whom is the story told? Who is the addressee, audience?

    • wife, priest, God

    • anyone, any human  to learn his hard lesson @ vengeance




  • WHY is Montresor telling this story?

    • confession, mad, conscience-stricken

    • Fortunato = victim BUT Montresor = suffering (realized F. was his friend, that the insult wasn't so unforgivable)

    • wants forgiveness BUT didn't forgive Fortunato




  • Is the narrator MAD already?

    • has he gone insane from guilt?

    • is he like the ravings of "The Tell-Tale Heart"?




  • What about the Cask of Amontillado?

    • was there ever any

    • part of the snare, plot

    • Does Montresor ever drink amontillado again???

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POV:


  • 1st person

  • adds insight into madness, revenge, regret/conscience

  • cannot be from Fortunato: he = drunk; dead

  • conscious-stricken

  • *Montresor reveals his TRUE MOTIVES throughout (fear, jealousy, homosexuality, anti-Mason)

  • reveals that this was a "premeditated murder"

  • UNRELIABLE NARRATOR:

    • crazy

    • premeditated murder & now he's trying to justify it

    • exaggerated insult & injury (justification)

    • exaggerated family honor (justification)

    • only Montresor’s perspective; not Fortunato’s side of the story (insult)




  • creates MORAL SHOCK or outrage in the reader, esp. as it seems M. is trying to justify the murder

  • allows the reader access to the workings of a crazy, sinister, evil mind

    • (Imagine 9/11 from the minds of the terrorists**)

  • EFFECT = #1: POV, setting, characterization, structure all support this effect



SUSPENSE:

  • definition: tenseness, a state of tension, a sense of uncertainty; an emotional (intrigue) effect on the reader to keep him/her reading; peek reader’s interest

  • illustrated through story (setting, tightening)

  • “Why We Crave Horror Movies”…car crashes

  • Why do we continue to read = fascination with the macabre

 see Giovanni in “Rappaccini’s Daughter”

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FORESHADOWING:


  • bones not buried in graves, improper burial

  • carnival: reversals of power

  • reversals:

    • carnival

    • crest

    • revenge

  • family crest: golden foot, in blue field, serpent biting heel, heel crushing serpent  self-destruction of vengeance, BOTH suffer/lose

  • motto: "No one attacks me without paying dearly" (Fortunato's injuries, insult to Montresor)

  • trowel

  • mound

  • refrain: go back, cough, health, Luchesi

  • Montresor’s reverse psychology on his servants, to get them out of the house

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SYMBOLISM:

  • catacombs: death; constriction (tightening)

  • potassium nitrate: preservative: wine, bones, MEMORY (conscience)

  • bells: fear of being buried alive  tied bells to feet/ankles

  • fool’s costume: playing the fool

  • carnival: masks, playing parts; indulging in the taboo = THIS STORY, a release

  • last stone: last chance, seals his own fate as well as Fortunato’s

  • dampness: consumption, difficult to breathe  constriction

  • trowel: death, foreshadows plan

  • arm: syndoche: lending an arm = for support, aid, help (+, virtue)

  • coat of arms: family traditions, legacy, heritage (“Everyday Use”)



SETTING


  • Italy

  • c. 1796 (last sentence, "half century"), published 1846

  • suspense, horror

  • **tightening, closing in, (CONSTRICTION)

    • concentric circles of HELL

    • SERPENT tightening its grip  see family crest

  • death: crypt; bones displayed, not in graves

  • carnival: reversal

  • **setting = quite important for plot & effect of horror, suspense; they go hand-in-hand

    • carnival:

      • madness (“supreme madness of the carnival season”)

      • supreme madness of the carnival season” allows Montresor to find his victim drunk

      • Amontillado = hard to find during carnival season, especially a CASK

        • Creates the TEMPTATION for Fortunato

      • Cask = more than a taste (gluttony of Fortunato)

      • Fortunato = dressed the fool (about to play the fool),

      • Montresor plays the fool about buying the cask of wine

      • no servants at home,

      • no one to notice Fortunato's absence, (he was drunk)

      • no one to hear Fortunato's screams

      • Fortunato in a mask (perhaps Montresor, too)

      • MASKS: playing a part

      • IRONY: carnival = brotherhood, bring people together, happy VS. Montresor’s plan
      • Homophobia??: Fortunato = dressed as a woman (see pix below) for carnival—the reversal of gender roles—then Montresor, the only one “out of costume,” is perhaps attracted to Fortunato…TRUE MOTIVES???


    • crypt:

      • sets EFFECT of horror, suspense:

      • dank, moldering, bone-filled catacombs

      • FAMILY HERITAGE

      • DESCENT:

        • into HELL

        • into Montresor’s SOUL, psyche, heart

          • ** his soul = hollow, dark, dank place **

*juxtaposition:

    • moves from lighthearted, happy, cheery, bright world of the carnival

    • to the dark, claustrophobic catacombs deep underground = creates suspense, horrific effect

    • storing WINE (life) with DEAD BODIES, corpses, bones (death)




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PSYCHOLOGY: Psychoanalytic Criticism:

  • subjectivity

  • look into the mind of a killer (madman) madness

  • self-destruction of vengeance

  • reverse psychology:

    • ensnares Fortunato by his own PRIDE, GREED:

    • appeals to his pride in wine connoisseurship (plays stupid, plays the fool)

    • ask Luchesi for advice

    • weakness to be sick or drunk

    • (“Good Country People”)

    • Montresor uses RP to get the servants out of the house (claims he’s going away for the night, won’t be back until next daythey bolt for the carnival as soon as his back is turned, as he knew they would)

  • true motives

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* TRUE MOTIVES:


  • M. reveals his true motives throughout (1st person POV)*

    • afraid of Fortunato: worthy of fear in other respects besides his weakness; screams scare M., thinks his got loose

    • jealous of Fortunato: “You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter.”

    • homosexual crush on Fortunato??

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GOTHIC:

  • theme: dark side of the human soul; knowledge of Evil as well as Good

  • setting: crypt, bones

  • subject: revenge, murder

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THEMES:

  • vengeance = double-edged sword: gets BOTH victim & murderer

  • human soul = dark (knowledge of Evil)

  • human conscience = GOOD THING (never leaves us), redeeming quality of humans (MACBETH); tortures, pricks, stings

  • Pride, Greed, Vanity = bring about your own undoing

  • "A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser."

    • here, "overtakes" means cuts both ways

  • PRIDE: through which we hasten our our death, makes us beggars to our own demise (responsibility)
  • *** Responsibility: "Things Carried," "Hunters," "WRUG?," "Lottery"??, "Rappaccini's Daughter," "Cask"


  • SUSPENSE: fascination with the MACABRE: effect on the reader: why we must look, look at car accidents, watch horror movies (“Rappaccini’s Daughter”)




  • POE'S foster-father: (John Allan = Fortunato)

    • motto "no one assails me with impunity" = Scotland's motto

    • Allan = Scotsman, "rich, respected, admired, beloved," married, interested in wines, Mason..."Allan" as anagram in "AmoNtiLLAdo"




  • anti-aristocracy:

    • articles in American magazines @ nobility's scandalous behavior

    • common sentiment in Jacksonian, post-Jacksonian America

    • "resentment against aristocratic 'privilege'"

    • EUROPEAN adjectives, words, wines




  • Family Heritage:

    • motto, crest

    • follow their lead

    • “you” = family bones: M. = sitting on the floor in the crypt drinking wine & talking to the bones…perhaps he never left the area!


IRONY

DRAMATIC:

  • we know what's to happen to Fortunato before he does, b/c he's drunk

  • we sense the mounting danger that he does not

  • "Fortunato" name = fortunate, but he is not

  • dressed as a fool: we realize that he is being made a fool of by Montresor


VERBAL:
  • several instances @ his health, welfare -- Montresor pretends to be Fortunato's friend, looking out for his best interest, worried about his health


  • will not die of a cough...true, true

  • “in pace requiescat” = may he rest in peace AND "in pace" refers to a secure monastic prison **

  • trowel & mason

  • **** DARK COMEDY ****


IRONY OF SITUATION:

  • Poe's story = well-crafted, Montresor's revenge = well-crafted

  • Masonry: craftsmen, wall, revenge plot, tell story

  • plots murder down the smallest details BUT does not consider the effect on his conscience

  • Fortunato = already sick

      • perhaps already dying of consumption, so revenge is futile

      • shows Fortunato’s PRIDE over his Common Sense/self-preservation

  • A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser.”

      • M. meant that his retribution is delayed

      • BUT here, “overtakes” means comes back onto reader, cuts both ways

      • MB’s bloody instructions




  • “Fortunato” means “fortunate BUT he was not

  • carnival = brotherhood, bring people together, happy VS. Montresor’s plan

  • masonry = brotherhood, BUT Montresor’s plan (“Hunters in the Snow”)

  • buries Fortunato with his family  has made F. one of his family




FORTUNATO'S HELL: REALIZATION

  • as he sobers to terror, with terror, he will realize = he had many chances to escape, his taste for fine wine led to his doom, his pride led to his downfall, M. ensnared him by his own pride, M. was only pretending to be his friend
    •  all of which M. savors (Baglioni) as part of his ingenious plan


    •  all of which were part of M.'s plan from p.1... to redress a wrong so that the victim knows who done him in

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IMPUNITY:

  • to get away without punishment, harm

  • Does M. get away without punishment (conscience)?

  • Did F.' insult truly deserve this level of impunity?

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SHAKESPEARE:

  • OO: “motiveless malignity” of Iago (ST Coleridge)

    • Cassio = drunkard

    • OO = fool in love

  • R&J: buried alive fears of Juliet, before taking the potion

    • How if, when I am laid into the tomb,
      I wake before the time that Romeo
      Come to redeem me? There's a fearful point!
      Shall I not then be stifled in the vault,
      To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
      And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?
      Or, if I live, is it not very like
      The horrible conceit of death and night,
      Together with the terror of the place-
      As in a vault, an ancient receptacle
      Where for this many hundred years the bones
      Of all my buried ancestors are pack'd;
      Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth,
      Lies fest'ring in his shroud; where, as they say,
      At some hours in the night spirits resort-
      Alack, alack, is it not like that I,
      So early waking- what with loathsome smells,
      And shrieks like mandrakes torn out of the earth,

      That living mortals, hearing them, run mad-

      O, if I wake, shall I not be distraught,
      Environed with all these hideous fears,
      And madly play with my forefathers' joints,
      And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud.,
      And, in this rage, with some great kinsman's bone
      As with a club dash out my desp'rate brains?
      O, look! methinks I see my cousin's ghost
      Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body
      Upon a rapier's point. Stay, Tybalt, stay!
      ROMEO, I come! this do I drink to thee. (Act 4, 3)




  • Hamlet: revenge theme; perfectly planned revenge

  • Macbeth: “bloody instructions”

    • If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
      It were done quickly: if the assassination
      Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
      With his surcease success; that but this blow
      Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
      But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
      We'd jump the life to come. But in these cases
      We still have judgment here; that we but teach
      Bloody instructions
      , which being taught, return
      To plague the inventor
      : this even-handed justice
      Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice
      To our own lips. (1.7-10)

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PUNS:

  • DeGrave wine: “the grave”, Fortunato drinks it all alone  he will DIE

  • Trowel: mason symbol & used to spread mortar that will wall in Fortunato
  • Fool: “And yet some fools will have it that his [Luchesi's] taste is a match of your own” (849).


  • Fortunato = fortunate, blessed

  • Amontillado: “past participle of the Spanish verb amontinallar. Amontillado, thus, would mean "collected in a pile”  collected in a bags of bones at the foot of M.’s mountain-palace

    • “solera system”: older casks (crypt) = filled with younger wines (F.) in production

  • cask = casket = coffin

  • pipe: tubular  constriction

  • **“PUNished with imPUNity**

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BIBLICAL INTERPREATION:

  • Genesis 3:15 (serpent, heel)

    • Genesis 3:15: judgment upon the Serpent in the Garden of Eden

      • And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

      • * PURIC VICTORY * (short-term)

      • just like Montresor’s family crest/motto

  • carnival season:

    • before Lent

    • day of confession of sins “Shrove Tuesday”  Montresor = confessing his sins to the reader, “you”

  • sacrifice:

    • “immolation” (sacrifice)

    • Lent season ends with Christ’s sacrifice

    • Is M. the sacrifice: Is Montresor’ confession setting him up as a SACRIFCE for us, to learn a lesson?

    • Is F. the sacrifice: Sacrificed for M.’s sins? For his own pride? For us?

    • Fortunato = “blessed”
  • BLACK MASS:


    • parody on the holy Catholic Mass: “One ritual is that it is performed in entirety, or in parts, backwards. The Mass may include inverting the cross, spitting and stepping on the cross, stabbing the host and other obscenities. Urine, supposedly, was at various times substituted for holy water, or for the wine. Sliced pieces of rotted turnips, black leather, or black triangles were substituted for communion bread. Black candles were used instead of white ones. A defrocked generally performed the Black Mass wearing vestments of black or a color of dried blood, and embroidered with inverted crosses, a goat's head (referring to Baphomet), or magical symbols.”



    • carnival = orgy

    • wine = parody of Eucharist **

  • CRUCIFIXION:

    • the way Fortunato is hanged **

    • Fortunato = “blessed”

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Biographic criticismproblems with:

  • Poe’s bad biographies

  • personality transference from author to characters, between M. & F.

  • characters = Poe’s psyche

    • Poe = crazy, fears of burial alive, vengeful

    • no proof that Poe = afraid of being buried alive….other than his stories

  • Poe:

    • abandoned at 1 year old.

    • mother died, father died at 2 years old

    • foster-father = swung from lenience to sharp discipline

    • married 13-year-old cousin

    • she died young (24)


    • extreme poverty

    • professional frustration & jealousy

    •  stories @ macabre, bizarre, outcasts

    • ** BUT English Romantics  stories @ macabre, bizarre, outcasts

  • **story = literary criticism**

    • murder = exacting, perfect, premeditated, exquisitely planned

    • stories = exacting, perfect, premeditated, exquisitely planned

      • all stories & this story

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HISTORICAL CRITICISM:

  • live-burial literature of 1840s

    • taphephobia: fear of being buried alive

    • thanatomimesis: look dead; coma, catatonic state, certain medications & poisons  bells

    • vestal virgins: broke oaths  buried alive w/milk-water, bread, candle

    • SHK: R&J, 2H4, Pericles

    • POE: “The Premature Burial,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Cask of Amontillado”

    • Joseph Taylor: “The Dangers of Premature Burial” (1816)

    • “On the Signs of Death” (1834)

    • ** BUT the story is told from Montresor’s POV; not told from Fortunato’s POV as he was buried alive

      • urban legend  movie or story

  • anti-Masonic feelings:
    • western New York: disappearance of William Morgan, bricklayer who broke the vow of secrecy & planned a book detailing the secrets of the Freemason Society


      • Anti-Masonic Party = 1st 3rd party in USA, 1st party to hold a national nominating convention (9/1831, Baltimore, MD), 1st to offer the electorate a platform of party principles (against exclusivity, privacy, undemocratic behavior)

    • 1783, many books in mid-19thC, many books in German, French

    • **see anti-REVOLUTION laws/actions in France, Britain (fear of secret societies)

  • anti-aristocracy feelings (Jacksonian era, 1829-37, 7th)

    • aristocratic code: leadership, sportsmanship, courage, team play, self-sacrifice, duty

    • Montresor: cowardice, sneaky, trickery, booze

  • English critics (scathing…Simon Cowell)

  • English Romantics  types of stories, characters (dark)

  • SOURCES:

    • Last Days of Pompeii (1843)

    • local Boston legend: 1827, at Castle Island, South Boston, where he was stationed in the US Army: captain vs. another officer @ card game

    • Letters from Italy

    • Joel Headley’s “A Man Built in a Wall” (1844), recounts author’s sight of man buried into the wall of a church in Italy, revenge, bricks, hidden niche, moaning

    • Honor de Balzac’s Le Grande Breteche” (1843)
    • George Lippard’s The Monks of Monk Hall (1845)


    • Poe’s quarrels with other, rival poets: Thomas Dunn English

      • 1846: Poe sued The New York Mirror for libel over one of English’s literary caricatures; same year, English’s novel 1844, or The Power of the S.F. in which he parodied Poe as a drunkard, liar, and wife-beater; mentioned secret societies, token of a hawk grasping a snake in its claws; scene set in a subterranean vault

      • 1846: Poe publishes “The Cask of Amontillado”

      • literary revenge

    • Poe’s involvement in TEMPERANCE movement (perhaps to gain a political appointment): tried to scare people from booze, to abstain from consuming alcoholic beverages

      • dark morality tale of temperance (cautionary, morality tale)

  • CARNIVAL:

    • suspension of class distinctions

    • Saturnalia of ancient Rome: class inversion, masters served the slaves, election of a mock king; drink, dance, carouse, lewd & lascivious, 7 days

      • brief social revolution: inversion of power: power, dignity, impunity = conferred onto the lowly subjects, the subordinates

    • Pre-Lenten: just after Christmas/Feast of St. Stephen, to Shrove/Fat Tuesday

      • “boy bishop,” “sub-deacon”

      • “king of fools” (boy, sub-deacon)

      • mock religious rites, people

    • licensed transgression
    • ridicule (release pressure, have fun)


    • reconception of old ways/laws, rituals  better society

    • carnival = force of release, change, emancipation (socially transformative)

    • 12th Night, Corpus Christi celebrations




    • reversal of social ladder ( Fortunato's clothes)

    • mundus reversus

    • carnage” + “level” (release, pressure release),

    • farewell, flesh” (Medieval Latin: "carne vale")

    • period of festival before LENT, including Mardi gras (“fat Tuesday”) or Shrovetide

      • an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches (dictionary.com)

      • confess sins before Lent

      • (Christ, sacrifice)

  • Saturnalia, Dionysian, Corpus Christi, Fastnacht

  • Feast of Fools (12/26-FT)

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PSYCHOANALYTIC CRITICISM:

  • subjectivity

  • look into the mind of a killer (madman) madness

  • Montresor’s true motives (words vs. thoughts)

  • self-destruction of vengeance

  • taphephobia & claustrophobia: buried alive & enclosure, constriction

  • reverse psychology:

    • ensnares Fortunato by his own PRIDE, GREED:
    • appeals to his pride in wine connoisseurship (plays stupid, plays the fool)


    • ask Luchesi for advice

    • weakness to be sick or drunk

    • (“Good Country People”)

    • Montresor uses RP to get the servants out of the house (claims he’s going away for the night, won’t be back until next daythey bolt for the carnival as soon as his back is turned, as he knew they would)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

STORY = ?

  • consummate revenge story

  • morality story @ revenge (double-edged sword) OR morality story @ booze (temperance)

  • confession

  • insight into madness OR insight into conscience

  • Biblical mockery

  • anti-Masonic, anti-Catholic

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  • November 1846 issue of Godey’s Lady Book

  • Poe’s Tales of the Arabesque

FAMILIAR THEMES


REVENGE:

  • "The Cask of Amontillado"

  • "Everyday Use"

  • "Good Country People"

  • "Hunters in the Snow"

  • "Rappaccini's Daughter"

  • A Rose for Emily


FAMILY HERITAGE:

  • Everyday Use”

  • Rappaccini’s Daughter”

  • The Cask of Amontillado”

  • A Rose for Emily”

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for OWN DOOM:


  • Things Carried”

  • The Lottery”

  • Hunters in the Snow”

  • Good Country People”

  • WRUG?”

  • Rappaccini’s Daughter”

  • The Cask of Amontillado”


BIBLICAL ALLUSIONS:

  • Things Carried”

  • The Lottery”

  • Hunters in the Snow”

  • Good Country People”

  • Everyday Use”

  • WRUG?”

  • Rappaccini’s Daughter”

  • Chrysanthemums”

  • The Cask of Amontillado”


PSYCHOLOGY:

  • Things Carried”

  • The Lottery”

  • Hunters in the Snow”

  • Good Country People”

  • Everyday Use”

  • WRUG?”

  • Rappaccini’s Daughter”

  • The Cask of Amontillado”






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