Need analysis of Cask of amontillado : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Does anyone have any information on poe's motives behind writing the cask of amontillado?? such as hostility toward john allen, feelings of inferiority, etc. I have a critical analysis paper due on it, and anyone who could help me out it would be of a lot of help. thank

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2000



Poes tale, The Cask of Amontillado was first printed in Godeys Ladys Book in November of 1846. It is a story of carefully planned and executed vengeance by Montresor, the narrator, upon Fortunato, an insufferable pompous and arrogant buffoon that had insulted him and, consequently, the noble family of Montresor. But it is not vengeance of itself that is so important to the story as is the sheer passion that drives the craving for revenge. Poe clarifies this in the first paragraph when he writes,

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

Actually, there is much of John Allan to be seen in the attributes characterized in Fortunato and it is less than difficult to picture John Allan in the role of the victim. As Kenneth Silverman points out in his biography, Edgar Allan Poe  Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance, John Allan was, after all, a Mason and it is reasonable to assume that Poe saw a parallel in Fortunato as a rich, respected, admired, beloved, individual that fancied himself a connoisseur of wines.

However, while Poe may have used John Allan as a model for this character, I personally believe that the sheer passion behind the vengeance was intended for his literary enemies in the New York Literati, the 'nobility' of American literature. Furthermore, John Allan had been dead for some time by 1846 and revenge upon the long dead does not fulfill his standards for vengeance as represented in the first paragraph of the story. Poe had been at odds with the New York Literati throughout 1846 and it culminated in a libel suit filed by Poe against the New York Mirror and the owners. It had been a bitter and contentious dialogue carried out in the press by both sides. Poe ultimately won the suit and received about $225 but he was later crucified again with additional criticism in the press.

As for feelings of inferiority, I really cant speak to the issue because I simply dont know. However, from all that I have read about Poe, I cannot imagine him suffering from concerns of inferiority., superiority perhaps, for Poe was exceedingly confident in his abilities as an author. and rightfully so.


-- Anonymous, April 17, 2000

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