Themes

The main themes of the short story “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe are revenge and betrayal, and folly and madness. The theme of folly is enhanced through the motif of drinking while the theme of betrayal and vengeance is aided by the motif of pride.

Revenge and betrayal

“The Cask of Amontillado” is a story about betrayal and revenge. The narrator feels betrayed and offended by the other character – Fortunato – who had allegedly badmouthed his name behind his back. In his turn, Montresor betrays Fortunato by tricking him into a death trap so he could take revenge.

Exploring this theme in the short story becomes possible through the motif of pride. Both characters are proud – Montresor of his name, Fortunato of his wine knowledge. Their pride leads them in the story. It ...

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