As considered to be one master of Gothic tale, Edgar Allan Poe and his “Cask of Amontillado” contains many of the standard elements of Gothecism. He was fascinated with the materials and devices of the Gothic novel, although he preferred to work in the short story form. He was a great admirer of Walpole, and of the American Gothic writer Charles Brockden Brown. In his works, when one of the protagonist is wrestling with guilt, Poe sometimes doubles his character and then arranges for one self to murder the other by burying him alive. In repeatedly telling stories of murderous doubles, Poe was attempting to deal with his own demons, his own repressed guilt. Poe’s biographer, William Bittener, claimed that Montressor and Fortunato are two sides of the same man Edgar Allan Poe as he saw himself while drinking. The shadow figures emerge as a personification of the narrator’s hostile feelings and thoughts. In his criticism and his daily life, Poe himself is striking back at those forces in society or particularly individuals who might have wronged him. Poe had showed in his work that the monsters outside are nothing compared to the monsters we carry within us. “The Cask of Amontillado” reflects and shows some of the societal views of the late 1840’s. For one, alcoholism was very prevalent in that past society. So it wouldn’t be surprising to anyone that a story from this era would have a driving force such as that of alcoholism. In that era, it was generally okay for people to drink, more so than today. Secondly, gruesome deaths were very much a part everyday life for the 1840’s people. Everyday, many criminals were put to death by means of the guillotine. In “The Cask of Amontillado,” a grim death is the end of a man’s life and the end of the story.
The theme of revenge is a major theme in this story. It isn’t often that a revenge story of this nature comes into the hands of readers. “The Cask of Amontillado” is a very popular story, for many reasons. Even today, over 150 years after it was published, it is still being read. It was so eloquently written, and it has such vivid and detailed imagery. It caters to most people also, in that; it has elements to satisfy everyone’s taste in a good story. “The Cask of Amontillado” reflects a partial sector of society from the late 1840’s. It has elements of fear, especially the fear of death and the unknown. It illustrates some people’s way of thinking, such as the fact that some people don’t think before doing something. It also allows the reader to enter the mind of a murderer; not only to read what he is thinking, but also to understand what he is thinking. Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cast of Amontillado” shall forever live on in people’s hearts as a grisly tale of death, murder, and revenge.
Reference: Christopher Wanamaker 2011