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PDF Cask of the Amontillado theme analysis essay

Introductory ¶ should:
The Power of Pride
Pride is known as man’s greatest sin since it was pride that
begin with an attention-getter
led to Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden. It is also
name the author and novel title
the sin of Montresor and Fortunato in Edgar Allan Poe’s short
briefly summarize the plot and
mention theme idea
story “The Cask of Amontillado.” Montresor has been insulted
present your thesis statement-include how the theme will be
traced in the body
by Fortunato, and his pride leads him to seek revenge. He
cleverly plays upon Fortunato’s pride and leads him to his
death with the promise of tasting a nonexistent cask of
Amontillado. Through these characters and their actions,
Poe communicates his theme that pride leads to a man’s
The power of pride is clearly seen in the character of
Montresor. His pride in his family name is so great that
“When [Fortunato] ventured upon insult, [Montresor] vowed
revenge” (309). He cannot let himself be put down because
he would appear to be weak and inferior, so he plans his
revenge carefully. His desire to punish Fortunato is related to
Each body ¶ should:
State a claim (topic sentence) in
support of your thesis statement
Elaborate on claim by introducing
characters, describing a situation,
and/or character actions, etc. in
Provide at least one direct quote
in support of your claim
Follow up direct quote with an
interpretation and/or explanation
to thesis
conclude with a final idea or
transition to the next ¶
his family motto, “’Nemo me impune lacessit,’” which means
“No one dare attack me with impunity” (312). Obviously his
ancestors felt that they were above reproach, and their pride
made them feel that any attack should be met with even
greater force. That is why Montresor cannot turn the other
cheek; he feels it is his duty to crush any “serpent” (312) who
would dare to attack his honorable name. This belief leads
him to his moral downfall as he plans and executes the murder
of Fortunato.
Fortunato's pride leads him into the trap that Montresor
so cleverly lays for him. Montresor knows that Fortunato
has “a weak point….He prided himself on his connoisseurship
in wine” (309). Interestingly, Montresor sees Fortunato’s pride
as a weakness (he sees his own as a strength), and like the
clever man he is, Montresor preys upon this point, creating a
nonexistent cask of Amontillado that he knows Fortunato will
do anything to taste. To insure that, Montresor goes even one
step further and teases Fortunato’s pride by saying that he
plans to have Luchesi taste the wine because “if anyone has a
critical turn, it is he” (310). Fortunato’s pride cannot accept
that anyone is better at wine tasting than he is, so he insults
both Montresor and Luchesi by saying, “You have been
imposed upon; and as for Luchesi, he cannot distinguish
Sherry from Amontillado” (311). So great is Fortunato’s pride
that he does not see the effect his insults have upon
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Include page number in
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Montresor; he believe that he can say and do anything
because of his superior skills. Little does he know that his
pride is leading him into Montresor’s trap.
Montresor continues to play with Fortunato’s intense
pride as he leads him to his death. Several times Montresor
offers to turn back with Fortunato because of his cough and
the dampness of the catacombs but Fortunato insists, “’Let us
go on’” (313). He cannot admit to any physical weakness that
would interfere with his ability to taste-test the Amontillado. He
must also prove that Montresor was taken advantage of; that
would make him feel even more superior. Knowing that
Fortunato will not turn back because of his pride, Montresor
leads him to the crypt where he plans to bury him alive,
saying, “’Proceed,’ …’herein is the Amontillado” (314). The
pride of both men leads them to this terrible moment.
Montresor’s pride causes him to commit murder without
thinking for a moment about its immorality, and Fortunato’s
pride blinds him to the effects of his insults and to his
murderer’s intentions. His pride leads him like a lamb to the
And so, Poe’s theme that pride leads to the downfall of
man can be clearly seen through the actions of Montresor
Concluding ¶ should:
restate thesis statement
highlight key ideas in support of
your thesis
explain the theme’s universal
significance to everyone’s life
end with a final thought or
memorable idea
and Fortunato. Both men are flawed by their intense pride
and so are led to ruin by it. In fact, Montresor’s pride is still so
great that after fifty years he is bragging about his perfect
crime. He cannot see how pride led him to an evil and
immoral act. Through both Montresor and Fortunato, Poe is
suggesting that man can easily be led astray by pride, and that
can lead to spiritual and physical ruin. Obviously pride is a
weakness that man has had to contend with since the time of
the Garden of Eden, and since we are all prey to its sting, we
must always be on guard against this deadliest of sins.