Symbolism if the "Cask of Amontillado" : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Does anyone know three symbolisms in the "Cask of Amontillado"

-- Anonymous, September 19, 2000



In the story, The Cask of Amontillado, the general theme is one of retribution for a perceived wrong committed by Fortunato upon the noble family of Montresor. The narrator, presumably the sole surviving member of this family, has already endured a thousand injuries and, now, seeks to avenge himself and the honor of his family name over an insult. We are not told the magnitude of this transgression by Fortunato, but in considering the enormity of Montresors response, we must presume it is of sufficient import to warrant premeditated murder.

Of course, there is also the compelling family dictum emblazoned upon the Montresor familys Coat of Arms, Nemo me impune lacessit or No one assails me with impunity. Obliged by this motto, Montresor seeks a distinctive form of revenge and in the first paragraph of his story, he details the principles by which Fortunato must meet his death. First, it is Montresor that must be the retaliator. Secondly, It must be carried out in a manner that precludes discovery or retaliation. Thirdly, He must seek only to avenge and not lust for retribution. Finally, above all, Fortunato must understand that it is Montresor that is the avenger.

Now, you have asked for three symbolic representations in this story. As you are aware, symbolic allusions are highly interpretive and heavily dependent upon the reader. What is suggested to one, simply may not occur to another or may suggest something in complete contrast to anyone else. Be that as it may heres a few.

First, we have the maxim, Nemo me impune lacessit, a motto of Scottish origin and the birth place of Poes foster father, John Allan. Poes relationship with John Allan ended rather distastefully and with no small measure of animosity on the part of both men. Upon Allans death, Poe had been conspicuously excluded in the disposition of Allans estate which was particularly galling to Poe. Secondly, the associations to and similarities between John Allan and Fortunato do not end there. According to Kenneth Silverman in his book Edgar Allan Poe  A Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance, the Allan name can be found anagrammatically contained in the title word Amontillado. Personally, I think this is a stretch but it is a point that has been made by many people. Also, John Allan, like Fortunato, was also a Mason and fancied himself a connoisseur of wines. Another simile is the costume worn by Fortunato during the carnival and is suggestive of the arrogant and pompous buffoon that Fortunato is thought to be. His name alone infers fortune and unearned privilege.

I hope you find this useful and best of luck on your assignment.


-- Anonymous, September 26, 2000

you might look to the hacking cough Fortunato suffered from, possibly symbolic of Poe's mother and wife dying of tuberculosis, which he might have wanted to project upon his step-father. Fortunto dies of starvation and possibly asphyxiation, two of the ways suffers of tuberculosis die.

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2002

Wsup. I read taht story. the names were used as symbols too.

-- Anonymous, March 18, 2003

Fortunato in spanish means Fortunate...i thought that would have some meaning.

-- Anonymous, March 25, 2003

Fortunato obviously means fortunate, but what is the significance of the names Motresor and Luchesi?

-- Anonymous, October 08, 2003

The names 'Fortunato' and 'Montressor' are synonyms for 'fate.' Some critics claim that Fortunato and Montressor are the same person, that Montressor is Fortunato's conscience who has been alienated from his physical life. By Montressor speaking beyond the grave, this signifies that the soul lives on even when the body is dead.

-- Anonymous, February 20, 2005

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