Written by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Cask of Amontillado” was a short story of lies and deceit. It was also a story full of irony. There are three different kinds of irony. There is verbal irony, dramatic irony, and irony of the situation. Each of these plays a key role in forming the story and it’s characters. With some of these occurrences, one might exclaim aloud at the sight of the irony. Other times, some one could not realize there was irony until after reading it. How often does irony make an appearance in this short story, and what is its importance?Irony is important as it is entertaining. Verbal irony is when you say something while really meaning another. Like sarcasm, it can mean the complete opposite of what it seems when looked at carefully. For example, in “The Cask of Amontillado”, a masked Montresor encounters Fortunato (Italian for “fortunate”), the one man that he loathes and seeks cold, calculated revenge upon for some insult that is unknown to the reader, at the carnival (Poe, 6).
Montresor smiles at the thought of Fortunato’s destruction as he tells him that he is looking remarkably well (Poe, 6).
One might not realize how ironic this is if they did not know what the carnival season is. Another name for Mardi Gras, the carnival season is filled with costumes, laughter, and wine (Poe, 6).
Since Fortunato is one to join in on the carnival festivities, so was he. Dressed in a jester’s outfit, bright bells donned his hat, costume, and feet. Red and gold velvet danced on his outfit as he pranced about in his red leggings. He looked quite the fool, and everybody knew it but him (Poe, 7).
Humans are very complicated. For many years, human beings have been trying to figure out how the body works physically and mentally. Researches led to many discoveries in the human physical body, but the human mind is still relatively mysterious. Whenever a person does not follow the societys guidelines, he or she, often enough, is considered mentally ill. In Edgar Allan Poes short story The Cask ...
“Remarkably well” wasn’t exactly the phrase to describe his outfit.
Another kind of irony is dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is when the reader knows something that the character definitely does not. This kind of irony is important because without it, there wouldn’t be as much suspense in the story or screaming “no, don’t do that!” at the characters. Since the story was written in first person, we knew of Montresor’s plans for Fortunato (Poe, 8).
Montresor was planning to lead Fortunato into the catacombs, and his planning was good (Poe, 8).
Knowing Fortunato’s weakness for wine, he used it to his advantage, telling a falsehood of buying a pipe of amontillado. He also knew what Fortunato thought of Luchesi, another sherry and wine lover. Luchesi did not have as much experience as Fortunato, and Fortunato stressed that point (Poe, 9).
Another instance of irony takes place when and leading up to when Montresor seals Fortunato in his tomb. As he is dying he must have heavily regretted his insistence upon continuing deep into the catacombs. Many times Montresor suggests that the two head back, but Fortunato continually insists that, “[his] cough’s a mere nothing; it will not kill [him],” and that, “[he] shall not die of a cough” (Poe, 10).
Fortunato was right – it would not be his cough that killed him, but rather his adamancy that his cough would not. The final example of irony takes place when Montresor realizes that Fortunato is dead. After repeatedly calling Fortunato’s name, Montresor collects himself and says, “In pace requiescat,” which translates as “rest in peace.” While this itself does seem a bit ironic since Montresor kills Fortunato and then wishes him peace, it can’t yet be fully appreciated. In Italian “in pace requiescat” does translate as “rest in peace,” but the phrase, “in pace” by itself means a, “secure, monastic prison.” This description very well represents Fortunato’s final resting place – secure because it is deep underground and behind a brick wall, and monastic because it’s location is very secluded and almost has a religious air about it because of the human remains scattered about.
In the history of literature, there have always been different themes and genres of writing. But few have been as different or unique as that of the "gothic" literature. Of all the gothic authors of history, few writing has captured the mind and plunged it into the depths of fear as that of Edgar Allen Poe. Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," is a story that shows us how deadly being prideful can be. ...
Fortune and misfortune are both part of irony. Irony makes us laugh, but it also makes us realize the true colors of the characters (Poe, 12).
Montresor’s idea of revenge was probably entirely different from what some one else thought of. This short story captures the depth of Montresor’s loathing and the vulnerability and naivety of Fortunato. In closing, irony is indeed a very important part of this story, and it would have much less impact on the reader if it did not contain this literary device. The irony seems to pull the reader into the story and make them active in the story, because as they notice it they feel as if they’re interacting with the text. The above examples are only a few of the ironies in this story, but the most relevant and interesting of them all.
*Works Cited~ Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Cask of Amontillado” Prentice Hall Literature:Gold.Upper Saddle Hills, New Jersey 2002. pages 6-12