Irony in "A Cask of Amontillado"

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“The Cask of Amontillado” is a short story written by Edgar Allen Poe in 1846 about one man’s attempt to get revenge on another. The story takes place in an Italian city during carnival season, which is the time right before Lenten season. It is similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and is a time of celebration, costumes, happiness, and drunkenness. The celebration is in preparation of Lent, when those things will be given up for a time (Branley). The story opens with the narrator, Montresor, telling us his plans of getting revenge on a man who has insulted him, Fortunato. Montresor finds Fortunato drunk at a carnival celebration, and proceeds to lure him back to his home by exploiting his competitive nature. Fortunato believes that he is a connoisseur of wine, and Montresor uses this delusion to his advantage by asking him to taste a wine that he has purchased believing it to be Amontillado. Fortunato jumps at this chance to prove his intelligence of wine and accompanies Montresor to his home. Montresor tells him that the Amontillado is stored in his catacombs, and intoxicates him further by offering him wine on the way down. By the time they reach the catacombs, Fortunato is very drunk and Montresor takes advantage of this fact by chaining him to a niche in the wall. He then proceeds to block up the entrance to the niche and essentially by burying him alive, gets his revenge on Fortunato. Montresor ends the story by revealing that it has been fifty years since the murder, and his remains have stayed untouched for the entire time (Poe 130-136). “The Cask of Amontillado” is regarded as a dark and mysterious story, because of Poe’s effective use of irony. Edgar Allen Poe uses the three forms of irony—verbal, dramatic, and situational—in his short story “The Cask of Amontillado” to create a mood of sinister suspense. Verbal irony is used in the form of words, when
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