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@Read Book ⚹ The Cask of Amontillado ñ After enduring many injuries of the noble Fortunato, Montressor executes the perfect revenge 9 10Loved the way Poe portrayed this tale of revenge climax was unexpected but left me quite satisfied. The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe is a classic tale of revenge Since there are dozens of posts here, my review will take a particular slant what German pessimistic philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer has to say about the psychology of revenge and how the revengeful narrator in Poe s tale relates to Schopenhauer s insights.Schopenhauer says we all suffer as the result of nature or chance but, as humans, we recognizes that is simply the way life works He then writes, Suffering caused by t The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe is a classic tale of revenge Since there are dozens of posts here, my review will take a particular slant what German pessimistic philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer has to say about the psychology of revenge and how the revengeful narrator in Poe s tale relates to Schopenhauer s insights.Schopenhauer says we all suffer as the result of nature or chance but, as humans, we recognizes that is simply the way life works He then writes, Suffering caused by the will of another, on the other hand, includes a quite peculiar and bitter addition to the pain or injury itself, namely the consciousness of someone else s superiority, whether in point of strength or of cunning, together with that of one s own impotence It s that person to person dynamic that gives us the real sting someone intentionally shoves or hits us, humiliates or insults us, and, for whatever reason, we simply take it This is what happened in the aristocrat narrator s mind he was insulted by Fortunato I say in the aristocrat narrator s mind since we as readers don t know if Fortunato actually intended to insult him.Schopenhauer sees two phases of compensation for the person who has suffered at the hands of another 1 direct and legal a stranger hits us and we take him to court and win a settlement 2 revenge to deal with the psychological afterglow of the stranger s blow Here are his words Recompense, if possible, can cure the injury done but that bitter addition, the feeling and that is what I have to put up with from you which often hurtsthan the injury itself, can be neutralized only by revenge The narrator says his is not of a nature to merely threat Being an aristocrat himself, that is, someone who is accustom to living life and having life on his own terms, he will not even consider direct or legal action or a mere threat His first step is revenge, and a revenge where he will never be discovered or punished for exacting his revenge and a revenge where Fortunato will be fully aware he is the avenger Here is the payoff for the avenger as Schopenhauer sees it By returning the injury, either by force or by cunning, we demonstrate our superiority over him who has injured us and thereby annul the proof he gave of his superiority over us Thus the heart acquires the satisfaction it thirsted for Where, consequently there is much pride or much vanity, there will also be much reveangefulness This is where the philosopher s insights fit the characters in Poe s tale like a finely made Italian glove Fortunato is a pompous aristocrat, a man full of himself, a man who, in the course of the story, calls another man by the name of Luchresi an ignoramus since Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry The narrator, in turn, with his vaults and wines, his family crest and family motto, is filled to the brim with pride and vanity And as he locks Fortunato to the damp wall and seals him up in the cold, dark nave, we as readers get the feeling his revenge is as sweet as sweet can be As Alfred Hitchcock said, Revenge is sweet and not fattening Schopenhauer s words on the psychology of the avenger are penetrating He writes, But, as every fulfilled desire reveals itselfor less as a delusion, so does that for revenge Usually the pleasure we hoped for from it is made bitter by the pity we afterwards feel indeed, an exacted revenge will often subsequently break the heart and torment the conscience we no longer feel the motivation which drove us to it, but the proof of our wickedness remains visibly before us Poe s tale ends with the narrator avenger completing his stone and plaster task and feeling his heart grow sick from the dampness of the catacombs But this is the rub He feels his heart grow sick but it this truly caused by the dampness of the catacombs Might the narrator avenger experience pity and heartbreak and a torment of consciousness in the days, weeks and years to come If he is not mad, then perhaps if he is mad, then perhaps not Since this is a tale written by Edgar Allan Poe, madness is always a real possibility Thus, we can imagine the narrator avenger spending his remaining days drinking wine from his vaults with a smug, satisfied smile, knowing there is onepile of bones in his collection A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from thethroat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back For abrief moment I hesitated I trembled Unsheathing my rapier, I beganto grope with it about the recess but the thought of an instantreassured me I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs,and felt satisfied I reapproached the wall I replied to the yells ofhim who clamoured I re echoed I aided I surpassed them in volumeand in strength I did t A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from thethroat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back For abrief moment I hesitated I trembled Unsheathing my rapier, I beganto grope with it about the recess but the thought of an instantreassured me I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs,and felt satisfied I reapproached the wall I replied to the yells ofhim who clamoured I re echoed I aided I surpassed them in volumeand in strength I did this, and the clamourer grew still The terror of this tale isn t just in the final act, but in the behavior of the narrator, Montresor I read this story several times, trying to grasp the level of madness from which he suffers Is this truly a tale of revenge as he states to us in the beginning, or is it a tale of jealousy fueled by insanity Poor Fortunato, who is not fortunate at all, believes he is with a friend when he ventures down into the Montresorian Vaults to taste a cask of Amontillado It is carnival in this unnamed Italian city, and Fortunato is dressed as a fool, and he is so drunk that, though he calls himself a wine expert, I am led to believe he isof a drunken sod than an connoisseur Montresor says at the very beginning of this story that he has been insulted by athousand injuries,all perpetrated by Fortunato I ve known a couple of people in my lifetime who considered any slight a major assault against them It has been almost debilitating for them Every molehill becomes a mountain in their minds Most of us just slough those things off like a sprinkle of rain, but to thin skinned people, those slights become a torrential downpour of despair and projected animosity Montresor believes that Fortunato looks down upon him There is this moment in the story when the Montresor coat of arms is revealed a golden foot on a blue background crushing a snake whose fangs are embedded in the foot s heel, with the motto Nemo me impune lacessit No one attacks me with impunity The question is, depending on how you read this tale, is Montresor the snake being crushed or is he the embedded fangs Maybe, he is both Montresor expects Fortunato to insult him, so every odd look or misplaced word from Fortunato becomes a condemnation of his friend, Montresor Montresor might feel crushed, but he is about to embed his fangs Fortunato makes a symbolic motion with his arm and discovers that Montresor is not a Mason, though Montresor insists that he is, even showing Fortunato the trowel that is in his hand as proof Of course, showing the trowel is great foreshadowing for the final act of immurement The fact that Fortunato does not believe Montresor is further proof that he despises him Montresor could have enacted his revenge anywhere It is carnival season The perfect time for a strangulation, a knifing, a drowning or a bludgeoning, and Fortunato would just be thought of as an unfortunate victim of some ruffians, but Montresor wants somethingHe wants Fortunato to forever reside among the bones of his ancestors He doesn t just want him dead He wants to OWN him forever The revenge, if that is what this is, will never end Illustration by Harry Clarke.There is this moment when Montresor realizes he isn t feeling well My heart grew sick on account of the dampness of the catacombs At the beginning of this sentence, I m feeling oddly relieved to discover that he is feeling some remorse, maybe the madness that has taken him over has finally been overcome by some horror at his own actions, but of course, all of that is quickly dispelled by him blaming those feelings on the dampness There are a couple of points, too, where he suggests to Fortunato that they should turn back, but he tempered each of those suggestions with a prod that would insure that his inebriated friend would want to continue Is this a demented way to assuage his guilt Can he convince himself that he tried to save him, but it was Fortunato s choice to continue to his death Edgar Allan Poe is most assuredly playing with your mind as he does in most of his stories He sprinkles little clues that for the discerning reader are there to be discovered My suggestion is to read this story a few times, and each time, hopefully, a new layer of the story will reveal itself to you This is an excellent example of Poe and by some people considered his best short story If you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit I also have a Facebook blogger page at Typically this is considered a tale of revenge I m going to go out on a limb and argue that it s not The only notion we have of revenge of the narrator, Montresor, actually being wronged comes in the wonderfully vague opening sentence The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge It s Montresor himself who insists this is a revenge tale, but of course he s the ultimate unreliable narrator, so we shouldn t take him at his Typically this is considered a tale of revenge I m going to go out on a limb and argue that it s not The only notion we have of revenge of the narrator, Montresor, actually being wronged comes in the wonderfully vague opening sentence The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge It s Montresor himself who insists this is a revenge tale, but of course he s the ultimate unreliable narrator, so we shouldn t take him at his word Notice that we get not a single detail concerning any of these injuries or insults Typically you d expect someone plotting revenge to stew over all those little details ad nauseam Instead, we only know that Fortunato is a wine connoisseur and that i n painting and gemmary Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack It seems that, at some level, Montresor simply doesn t like Fortunato or perhaps doesn t like all Italians, especially Fortunato and decides to kill him for no other reason than that You also get the sense that Fortunato issuccessful than the narrator his name, Fortunato, isn t particularly subtle , so perhaps the killing is simply the result of jealousy There s also that wonderful scene where Fortunato makes a Masonic sign, which the narrator doesn t understand and call grotesque , and Montresor replies by producing a trowel from beneath his clothes and saying he s a mason, too A grim joke, but one that points again to the jealousy burning inside him.OK, enough argument The most important point is that this a wonderfully macabre tale that reprises several of Poe s major themes I won t spoil the ending I ll just say that it s a tale that leaves you thinking long after the reading is done Not just thinking, but feeling the damp caverns, the piles of bones, and the ever thickening nitre that hangs like moss upon the vaults