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Irony in “The Cask of Amontillado”

In the short story, “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, Poe uses two types of irony, dramatic and verbal. Dramatic irony is when the reader perceives something that a character in the story does not. Poe uses this type of irony in the character Fortunato. Verbal irony is when the character says one thing and means something else. This type of irony can be recognized in the statements that the characters, Fortunato and Montresor, say to one another. The name of the character, Fortunato holds dramatic irony within itself.

The name Fortunato resembles the word fortunate. In this story, the character Fortunato is anything but fortunate. At the beginning, Fortunato believes that he is fortunate to have a friend, Montresor, who believes to have found a pipe of Amontillado. However, in the end Fortunato learns that he has been tricked and is buried alive. Another ironic feature about the character Fortunato, is the way he is described to be dressed, like a court jester. The time period in which The Cask of Amontillado takes place, court jesters are considered fools.

Throughout the story, Fortunato is fooled to believe Montesor’s claim of the Amontillado. When Montresor chains Fortunato to the wall the statement that he says, makes Fortunato look like a fool. “‘ Pass your hand over the wall; you cannot help feeling the nitre. Indeed, it is VERY damp. Once more, let me IMPLORE you to return. No? Then I must positively leave you. But I must first render you all the little attentions in my power,'” (6). Montresor is telling Fortunato about all the chances he has give him Dotson to return, but Fortunato would not listen.

Therefore, in Montresor’s mind, Fortunato brought his death upon himself, which makes him the fool. As Montresor and Fortunate walk through the catacombs, many verbal ironic statements are made. While walking in the catacombs, Fortunato begins to cough. Montresor says, “‘ Come,’ I said, with decision,’ we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved, you are happy as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill and I cannot be responsible.

Besides, there is Luchesi,'” (3). In this statement, Montresor is show as a friend who is worried about his friend’s health. However, inside Montresor could care less about Fortunato’s health. Another ironic statement is Montresor does not want to be responsible for Fortunato’s death. When deep down Montresor knows that, he will be the one that is responsible for the death of Fortunato. There are many times in the story that Montresor insist on turning back do to Fortunato’s health, but Fortunato refuses each time.

Fortunato replies, “‘Enough,’ he said,’ the cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough,'” (3). The irony in this statement is Fortunato does not die of the cough but from his friend burying him alive. Another occasion that Poe expresses verbal irony through his character’s statements is when Fortunato is making a toast. “‘I drink,’ he says, to the buried that repose around us'” (4). Montresor replies, “‘And I to your long life'” (4). Fortunato has the slightest clue that he is toasting to himself. For he will soon become one of the buried in the catacomb.

When Montresor makes the statement about Fortunato’s long life, he knows that Fortunato’s life is almost over. Dotson In conclusion, we the readers recognize dramatic irony because we know Montresor hates Fortunato and has lured him to the catacombs for the purpose of revenge, while Fortunato believes he is going there to taste the Amontillado. This dramatic irony creates verbal irony in almost everything Montresor and Fortunato say. Practically everything Montresor says to Fortunato has hidden, ironic meaning that Fortunado does not understand.

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