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Irony in the Cask of Amontilla

            Irony in Edgar Allen Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado".
             "The Cask of Amontillado," by Edgar Allen Poe, is a story wherein irony plays a critical role in unfolding the intentions of the unreliable narrator Montresor. There are examples of both dramatic and verbal irony throughout this clever tale of horror. Even the setting reveals some sense of irony as we travel from a joyous carnival scene to the dark, dismal, catacombs of the Montresor's. .
             In the naming, the dialogue, the characterization, and in the setting of "The Cask of Amontillado" the irony, as it is woven throughout the tale, becomes self-evident and its purpose more meaningful. Prior to the initial meeting between Montresor and Fortunato we are already aware that there is nothing fortunate about Fortunato. We are alone with Montresor in this knowledge and we are also aware that whatever will occur in the tale has already passed by. The irony of his name is revealed to us even before we know Montresor's evil intent. Clearly, Fortunato is a man of good wealth and reputation who has done some harm to Montresor. Fortunato belongs to a secretive group known as the Freemasons whereas Montresor does not. This is evident when Fortunato is given a bottle of De Grave by Montresor and "He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand. I looked at him in surprise. He repeated the movement - a grotesque one" (Poe 476). When Montresor is asked to display a sign of his membership he takes a trowel from beneath his cloak and displays the tool instead. Fortunato assumes that Montresor's action is a joke. Of course the irony here is that Fortunato, a Freemason, will eventually be bricked up behind a wall with the use of this trowel. Montresor will play the part of the mason who puts the Freemason to death by masonry. .
             When the characters first meet at the carnival Montresor seems outwardly happy to meet Fortunato.

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