Conflict and General theme of "The Cask of Amontillado" HELP?? : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Im having problems with the theme, I know its about revenge, but in general (what goes around comes around??) I know my instructor would want more.. Also need help on the main conflict?? The cask of amontillado....

-- Anonymous, July 31, 2002


One angle is Godwin's novel "Caleb Williams" read and commented on by Poe. There a likeable young man feels compelled to murder someone for an insult then hide that murder to further defend the same honor at the expense of an innocent man being hung in his place. Another man, trying to solve the mystery pursues the killer who in turn tries to kill him. Godwin abhors this cruel god of personal "honor" and Poe like a true son of the American revolution easily casts his noble characters in unsympathetic, coldhearted molds(Mask of Red Death, King Pest, metzengerstein, etc.). Although the horror of his crime disturbs Fortunato he also relishes his cleverness and the humiliation of his victim. If he bestows a little sympathy it is wholly on his own terms with no chance of mercy. Self-absorbed European decadent nobility with the rot of the corruption lodged in his memory, his soul sealed with his triumph behind a bricked wall. Compare to the punished mad drunk in "The Black Cat." As for conflict, the man struggles ever so briefly with unpleasant details and refuses to let them turn even into conscience. Montresor himself is a doomed dupe with no more chance of an escape by himself than the more resourceful hero of "The Pit and the Pendulum." His conversation with Montresor becomes nothing but mocking echos and mimickry as he casts the insults back upon the one who sullied his honor.

-- Anonymous, August 02, 2002

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