The Case for Sanity
The story of “Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe is a thought-provoking and intellectual short story woven together by thorough detail, symbolism, and analysis of human nature. The reader is left with many questions regarding the mysterious and dark story because it is a confession of sorts by Montresor. The most prominent question of all, is Montresor insane? Could it be possible to murder someone over a verbal insult and still be in one’s right mind? One could conclude after multiple reads and after gaining a better understanding of the irony in the story that a person in their right mind(sane), but with ill intentions, as in the case of Montresor, would be ...view middle of the document...
Others would argue that based on the last line of story “In pace requiescat!,” which means “May he rest in peace!,” could show that Montresor has some guilt over what he had done and may fear for what will happen to his soul after he dies (Poe 113).
Throughout the confession, it is clear that Montresor has spent plenty of time planning the perfect crime. He has waited for carnival, a time of happiness, celebration of life and laughter, to take a life so viciously. During the celebration of Carnival, most people were under the influence of some sort, not within their complete mind, and because it was busy, no one would notice, nor hear anything out of the ordinary. For instance, Montresor and Fortunato’s meeting, which seems to be by accident, has been carefully orchestrated by Montresor in order for him to lure Fortunato into a trap. Montresor knows that Fortunato “prided himself upon his connoisseurship of wine”, so he lured him to the deep “vaults”, of his home on the premise of trying the new wine he had received (Poe 108-109). Sane people are said to think logically, and in this situation, Montresor knew well that Fortunato would not pass up a chance to try a new wine and boast his knowledge regarding it.
To guarantee his home was empty Montresor tells his attendants that he will be out for the evening and explicitly “not to stir from the house”, knowing full well that his attendants would do the opposite of what he said, they were all gone as soon as he turned his back (Poe 109); Montresor did this to be sure had no witness to he and Fortunato together at his home that evening. Planning that detail could be done by any sane person, one might argue. However, someone insane may not care if there were witnesses; they would not be thinking clearly, so it is not likely they would remember that important step.
While on the path to the “vaults”, Montresor and Fortunato share small talk (Poe 109). All the while he speaks to Fortunato with many ironic statements, said likely with sarcasm, but due to Fortunato’s inhibited state, he does not pick up on them. At one point Montresor replies, to Fortunato’s drink to the buried family members, with “And I to your long life”. (Poe 110) Knowing full well that he was about to end Fortunato’s life. Shortly thereafter, Montresor and Fortunato have a conversation about the “masons”. (Poe 111) While Fortunato is referring to the brotherhood of the “Free Mason’s” , when asked if he is a part of the “brotherhood”, Montresor replies “yes, yes” (Poe111); however, he meant a brick mason as he pulled a “trowel” from beneath his “cloak”. This could be deemed as sane; ill intended, but sane. (Poe 111)
Once Fortunato trips into the burial plot, Montresor quickly shackles him to the floor plate with chains around his waist, as if it is nothing. In Fortunato’s inhibited state both from intoxication and the shock of falling into this hole, he doesn’t realize what Montresor is doing as he gets up and begins...