Pride is defined as an opinion on oneself that is too high. It could also be a dignity or self-respect. And it is also the reason why Montressor murdered Fortunato in the short story “The Cask of Amontillado”. The story is written by Edgar Allan Poe. It is about Montressor who seeks revenge for Fortunato just because of an insult. He uses the weak point of Fortunato i. e. Fortunato prided himself on his knowledge and good taste of wine. With that, Montressor uses Amontillado as bait so that Fortunato will go with him on his catacombs.
At the end, Montressor is successful in having revenge. Through these actions of the characters, we can say that the main theme of the story is that pride will ruin a man’s life. It is pride that drives Montressor to vow revenge just because of an insult. As stated in the lines ” The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best as I could but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge”, we could noticed this pride in the personality of Montressor.
He doesn’t want that anyone could put him down because he would appear to be weak and superior, so he plans his revenge carefully. Montressor’s description of the coat of arms of his family wherein the shield features a human foot crushing a serpent with a family motto ” Nemo me impune lacessit,’ which means “No one may insult me with impunity” relates with it his great desire for revenge. That is the reason why his decision or plan for killing Fortunato is firm.
He never changes his mind from the moment they entered in the catacombs until he had murdered Fortunato. Montressor’s pride and beliefs really lead him to be immoral. Fortunato died because of his pride on his connoisseurship in wine. Montressor knows the weak point of Fortunato, that is, his connoisseurship in wine. Montressor uses the Amontillado as bait so that his plan of revenge will be successful. He even teases Fortunato that he had a plan of letting Luchesi to taste the wine to insure that Fortunato will really do everything to taste the Amontillado.
Successfully, Fortunato goes with Montressor – little does he know that he was going to his grave because of his pride on his connoisseurship in wine. The pride of Montressor and Fortunato leads them to a terrible moment – Fortunato’s death. It is pride that keeps Fortunato to insist on going back. We can notice it several times in the story. One scene is that when Fortunato insists “Enough. The cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of cough”.
The same thing happens every time Montressor tricks him to go back out of the catacombs. But Fortunato keeps insisting because of his pride until he was murdered. At the moment Montressor is putting the last pile of stone, he doesn’t feel pity to his friend of Fortunato because of this great desire for revenge. And it is because of pride. Therefore, it is pride that ruins their lives. For Montressor, he even brags after 50 years that he had killed Fortunato just because of an insult. He wants to inform everybody that his revenge was successful.
He did not realize that this pride of him make him an evil and immoral. For Fortunato, his pride leads him to his grave. Because of this pride, he did not notice that Montressor will kill him even if it somewhat being foreshadowed by Montressor. He did not feel guilty when he had insulted Montressor because he was blinded by his pride. Montressor confesses after fifty years after the horrific event happened; with that significant passage of time between the events and the narration of the events make the narrative unreliable.
Moreover, Montressor is punishing without stating what the insult is makes him more unreliable. And it results to different interpretation by different readers. After considering some negative quality of the story, we can say that we like the story. The structure of the story is different. The setting at first was at the carnival, which symbolizes freedom then the author progressed the story in such a way that as Fortunato and Montressor travel farther away from fresh air, they are also moving away in the freedom. It is very nice.
Also, the foreshadowing technique utilized by the author build suspense in the story especially that it happens in a catacomb and story is all about murdering. As we go along with the story, because of this foreshadowing technique, we somewhat have the strong feelings to inform Fortunato that Montressor is planning to kill him. Indeed, foreshadowing technique really builds suspense in the story. Moreover, the story teaches lesson to the readers. One lesson is that, we should be careful of what we are saying and be sensitive enough to the feelings of other people.
Or else, we might end up buried alive. Next lesson is that addiction to something will cause trouble in our life as what happened to Fortunato. His addiction to wine was used by Montressor as Fortunato’s weakness and used Amontillado as bait. Lastly, we should learn weigh things and do not let pride drive our life. That murder would not have happened if Montressor tries to confront Fortunato and tell what he feels toward Fortunato. Therefore, literature is really for entertainment and instruction.
Courtney from Study Moose
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