Irony in "The Cask of Amontillado"

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Edgar Allen Poe’s intense use of irony throughout “The Cask of Amontillado” makes the story interesting and engaging. He utilizes dramatic and verbal irony in the story to capture the reader’s attention and make them feel sympathy for Fortunato. The constant irony is detected through style, tone and the clear use of exaggeration of Montresor, the narrator. From the beginning we witness dramatic irony in the story. The title of story plays a big part in deceiving Fortunato. The word cask, which means wine barrel, is derived from the same root word used to form casket, meaning coffin. Therefore when Montresor is speaking of going to the cask he is ironically speaking of Fortunato’s casket (Cummings 2). Along with the title Fortunato’s name is very ironic. In Italian Fortunato means fortunate one, this is ironic because Fortunato is very unfortunate in the story because he is being led to his death and is treated like a fool. The setting in which the story takes place shows an ironic aspect. The characters meet at a carnival, where there is suppose to be celebration and happiness all around, but all that we witness from the story is revenge and death (Wood 1). Due to the carnival season the clothing that Fortunato is wearing is very festive and happy. His outfit is full of color and his hat has bells on it, like such of a jester. It is very ironic that he looks like a jester because Montresor is treating him like a fool. It is very evident that Poe took a lot of time to consider where ironic aspects could be put into the story so that the reader would understand what was happening. All of these ironic traits where part of background information of the story, they are all dramatic irony because the characters were unaware of them. Verbal irony is also a very important part in “The Cask of Amontillado”. After the encounter of Montresor and Fortunato,

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