Gothic Elements of "The Cask of Amontillado"

Gothic Elements of "The Cask of Amontillado"

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  • Setting & Atmosphere
  • Proceed, herein is the Amontillado.
  • A Gothic Protagonist
  • You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was.
  • Emotions Run High
  • The Gothic setting and atmosphere of this story is a secret room in Montresor's family catacombs. It is dark and creepy in the catacombs and at the end is a secret room containing bones. "Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones, we perceived a still interior crypt or recess... for no special use..."(Poe 5)  
  • Foreboding
  • Nemo me impune lacessit.
  • A Gothic protagonist is typically the main character in Gothic literature and is isolated either physically or emotionally either through their own doing or due to other circumstances.  Montresor, as a Gothic protagonist, is emotionally isolated because of his determination for revenge against Fortunato. "You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was."
  • There is some sort of... Decay
  • In Gothic stories emotions run high and are overly dramatic. The stories are often filled with rage, tragedy, and murders. Montresor takes his revenge on Fortunato to the level of burying him alive.
  • The Supernatural
  • For the love of God, Montresor!
  • Foreboding in Gothic literature can be ominous implications that precede dark events. In this story a conversation about Montresor's family coat of arms implies the revenge that will happen in the crypt at the hands of Montresor. The coat of arms shows a foot crushing a snake while the snake is biting the foot. In the text box above the meaning is "No one attacks me without impunity".(Poe 4) The foot could represent Montresor and the snake Fortunato. 
  • With in Gothic stories there is some sort of element of decay. It can be the crumbling of a family, a community or individual. This process of decline is seen in the landscape or setting as well as the characters. There is a representation of decay in the crypt. "From the fourth side the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size."(Poe 5)  
  • Most Gothic stories have some element of the supernatural. In this story Fortunato is very intoxicated and while he is being buried alive he sobers up instantly. In the story when Fortunato is drunk he is full of pride and superiority. In the end he sobers up and realizes what is happening. "...out of the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head....was succeeded by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognizing as that of the noble Fortunato."(Poe 6)
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