Is Montresor a Reliable Narrator?

Edgar Allan Poe endured many difficulties and sadness over the course of his life. His life was filled with unstable living conditions, a broken family, and the loss of many loved ones. These life experiences heavily influenced the way he developed his poems and short stories, which led him to become one of the greatest writers of his time. Poe is known for his Gothic style of literature which includes elements of fear, horror, death, gloom, and suspense. There is a psychological element that characterizes some of Poe’s tales of horror, and are written in first person. Through first-person narration, Poe is able to develop the character’s individuality. Poe’s short stories, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” and “The Cask of Amontillado” are told by first-person narration which helps develop characterization.

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Poe’s story of murder and revenge, “The Cask of Amontillado,” is told through the perspective of an insane murderer in the first person. In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Montresor repays his enemy, Fortunato. The Montresor lures Fortunato into his home with some sherry and locks Fortunato in a wall while a carnival goes on above him. Through first-person point of view, the reader is more involved in the thoughts and motives of Montresor as he tortures and murders Fortunato. The point of view also affects the conflict of man versus man, because the reader knows very little about the antagonist, Fortunato. The First-person allows the Montresor to justify his murder, whereas it would not work in a third-person point of view. The justification for his crime is only learned by his readers because of them being able to be in his mind. I find Montresor very manipulative and vengeful as he managed to make Fortunato fall for his trick. He is manipulative by slyly getting Fortunato into a small inlet in his wine cellar knowing that Fortunato was a drug addict. He then chains him up before poor Fortunato realises he was caught in a trap and knew what was going to happen to him. 

Edgar Allan Poe uses a first-person point of view in many of his short stories. The first person point of view allows the narrator to control the narrative and allows the reader to see through his or her eyes. The narrator often expresses his or her own morbid actions so well that they demonstrate their true insanity. They are then unable to distinguish their own madness. 

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Is Montresor a Reliable Narrator?. (2020, Nov 18). Retrieved February 6, 2023 , from
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