Irony: Poe’s use of both verbal irony and situational irony adds to the chillingly humorous and unsettling tone of the story. The irony in this story becomes more grotesque once Fortunato realizes that Montresor is trapping him within the catacombs; they both speak a series of ironic falsehoods about Montresor allowing Fortunato to leave when both characters and the audience know that Fortunato will die there.

You are watching: Literary devices used in the cask of amontillado

Symbols: Poe uses symbolism in his setting to make the end of the story ironic. The vault in which Montresor traps Fortunato is an extended metaphor for the cask that contains the Amontillado, while Fortunato becomes a metaphorical symbol for the wine; Fortunato is symbolically encased in the very thing he sought.

Style: In situating the story in a letter or confession from Montresor to an intimate friend or confidant, Poe avoids having to use a lot of exposition. This forces the audience to determine the personalities of both characters from clues within their dialogue and Montresor’s distorted narration of events. The hidden nature of the two men’s relationship, Fortunato’s mysterious “thousand injuries” against Montresor and the lack of an omniscient description of both characters add to the ominous and uneasy tone of the story.


Literary Devices Examples in The Cask of Amontillado:


The Cask of Amontillado 🔒 18

"I made bold to seize Fortunato by an arm above the elbow..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Fortunato thought nothing of seizing Montresor by the arm and dragging him off to find the Amontillado, but Montresor has to “make bold” to use such familiarity with Fortunato. This juxtaposition illustrates the difference in their social positions.


Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff

Subscribe to unlock »


"Luchesi..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Notice how Montresor uses Luchesi"s name to incite Fortunato"s ego and pride. When the dark and foreboding setting gives Fortunato a reason to turn back, Montresor"s manipulation of his ego urges him to move forward.


Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff

Subscribe to unlock »


"In pace requiescat!..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


These words have also been read as a sign that the hate and pride, which may have caused Montresor to kill Fortunato, have devoured his soul and destroyed his humanity. When read in this way, the final line suggests that Montresor confesses this story as a form of repentance. The "rest in peace" then takes on a double meaning: as he has now told the story, both his conscious and Fortunato can rest in peace.


Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff

Subscribe to unlock »


"I plastered it up..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Poe seems to have created an extended metaphor where the vault represents the cask and Fortunato represents the Amontillado. In the end, Montresor places the final stone to lock Fortunato in the vault forever, just as he would use a keystone to seal Amontillado in a cask. Thus, the figurative Cask of Amontillado becomes the literal tomb of Fortunato.


Evan, Owl Eyes Staff

Subscribe to unlock »


"roquelaire..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


A roquelaire is an 18th century, knee-length men’s cloak that is worn over the shoulders. Poe juxtaposes Fortunato’s colorful jester’s costume with Montresor’s dark, villainous outfit, turning what could be a macabre story into one that’s slightly humorous.


Yasmeen, Owl Eyes Staff

Subscribe to unlock »


"You? Impossible! A mason?..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Fortunato cannot believe that Montresor would be accepted as a Mason, making his accusation another one of Montresor’s “thousand injuries.” Montresor’s reply reveals more of Poe’s dark humor, as the pun foreshadows Montresor’s plan for revenge against Fortunato.


Yasmeen, Owl Eyes Staff

Subscribe to unlock »


"True—true..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Poe uses dramatic irony to reinforce Montresor’s deceitful nature and provide some dark humor. The reader knows that Fortunato is not in danger of dying from a cold, but rather of being murdered by Montresor. Montresor’s consolation is just a ruse to lead Fortunato closer to his death.


"“Ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!”..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Poe once famously stated that not a single word should be wasted in a short story. Here, then, his repetition is intentional: He uses it to emphasize how seriously the nitre is affecting Fortunato as well as the fact that Fortunato remains determined to sample the Amontillado in spite of his violent cough.


Jules, Owl Eyes Staff

Subscribe to unlock »


"imposture..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


The noun “imposture” refers to the practice of deceiving others by pretending to be someone else. Montresor claims that Italians pretend to be experts in—or show “enthusiasm” for—certain subjects as a means of deceiving wealthy clients. Montresor’s criticism is blatantly hypocritical, given that he deceives Fortunato by luring him to his house under false pretenses.


Yasmeen, Owl Eyes Staff

Subscribe to unlock »


"to hurry me..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Notice how Poe abruptly ends one scene and opens another immediately in the next line. The reader is given the impression that the two men arrived at Montresor"s palazzo with great haste and without any unforeseen problems such as bumping into a common acquaintance along the way.


Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor

Subscribe to unlock »


"And in the middle of the carnival!..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Poe sets his story during the carnival season in order to give Montresor the perfect cover for his plan. Like everyone else on the streets of Venice, Fortunato is drunk and in a festive mood, which makes him easier to fool. The carnival also distracts the attention of any bystanders who might otherwise notice Monstresor leading Fortunato to his palazzo.


Jules, Owl Eyes Staff

Subscribe to unlock »


";—I was skilful in the Italian vintages myse..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Fortunato likely knows that Montresor is knowledgeable enough about Italian wines that he would not require expert advice to purchase them. Further, given that Montresor is a French name, Fortunato likely assumes that Montresor does not need his help judging French wines. Therefore, it is plausible that Montresor chooses the Amontillado, a rare Spanish wine, to appeal to Fortunato’s arrogance and lure him into his snare. Fortunato, in turn, does not find it suspicious that Montresor needs his advice about such a rare wine.


Jules, Owl Eyes Staff

Subscribe to unlock »


"with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to wall up..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Recall the earlier pun regarding Montresor"s status as a mason and as a source of dark humor. When the pun is first presented, drunken Fortunato thinks his friend is being a fool. Now the trowel that he thought of as a joke is the instrument of Montresor"s ruthless revenge.


Evan, Owl Eyes Staff

Subscribe to unlock »


"you are luckily met...." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Having learned that Montresor intends to take revenge upon Fortunato, we know that this meeting is anything but lucky for Fortunato. Poe"s use of situational irony here helps shape Montresor"s character by showing the ease with which he misleads the victim of his revenge, whom he calls his friend.


Evan, Owl Eyes Staff

Subscribe to unlock »


"wine..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Poe uses alcohol as a plot device throughout the story. In this passage, we learn that Fortunato"s obsession with wine allows Montresor the opportunity to take advantage of it. Note how Montresor continues to use wine throughout the rest of the story to achieve his gruesome goal.


Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor

Subscribe to unlock »


"You, who so well know..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Poe has his narrator, Montresor, address his story to someone who already knows him in what seems like a confidential letter. Structuring the story in this way allows Poe to leave out a lot of exposition and to avoid having to explain the nature of the "thousand injuries."


Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor

Subscribe to unlock »


"revenge..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


Poe uses a stylistic principle in this paragraph by having the most important words come at the end of sentences. Note how each word adds to the power of the line, the prose, and to the overall mood and tone of the piece.


Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor

Subscribe to unlock »


"thrust me violently back..." See in text(The Cask of Amontillado)


This movement is an interesting parallel to the earlier moment in which Fortunato "recoiled" from Montresor"s gesture in "jest" of membership in the Freemasons.

"You jest," he exclaimed, recoiling a few paces.

See more: What Is Ironic About The Conclusion Of A Modest Proposal Essay?


Karen P.L. Hardison

Subscribe to unlock »


Analysis Pages


🔒 Become a Reader Member to unlock in-line analysis of character development, literary devices, themes, and more!
*

Owl Eyes is an improved reading and annotating experience for classrooms, book clubs, and literature lovers. Find full texts with expert analysis in our extensive library.

Join for Free | Browse Library

Teacher Memberships | School Memberships

© 2021 barisalcity.org, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms of Service