Poe's Short Stories

“The Cask of Amontillado”: Guilt can Never be Silenced College

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”, published in 1844, proves to be a cautionary tale of the repression of guilt. The story is told through the perspective of Montresor, a man who is deeply insulted by his ‘friend’ Fortunato. Montresor vows to extract revenge for the insults thrown at him and his family, and does so through murder. Throughout the story, it becomes evident that Montresor will not get away with the crime he intends to commit, and instead will be haunted by the details of the deed. The motive for the crime and pieces of irony within the story support the idea that conscience cannot be silenced, especially when one attempts to bury the guilt of their sins.

Montresor’s reasoning for wanting revenge on Fortunato does not justify the crime he commits, which contributes to why he feels guilt for the act. In the very beginning of the story, Montresor says, “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge” (714). The reason why Montresor is seeking revenge is not because of the injury caused, but because Fortunato has insulted his family’s name. It is revealed that Montresor’s family motto is “Nemo me impune lacessit”, which translates to “No one...

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