This is a short one, but really no less profound. Funny how Poe understood human nature. Obviously, as we learn very early in the story, Montresor has been wronged by Fortunado, but how was he wronged? Was it a wrong hearkened to being continually cut off in traffic, or was it more of a constant injury of pride? We shall never know. But, as I said, Poe knew human nature, and knew it wouldn't be hard for the reader to believe this revenge plot, which really is a brilliant one.
So, as usual, I did my Google searches and came across some tidbits. Of course, I must touch on the Vincent Price version of the story. This story is portrayed along with two other tales (Morella, one of my favorites, and The Case of M. Valdemar) in a 1962 film titled, Tales of Terror. Amontillado in this film is actually told as a kind of mash up with another story and is titled The Black Cat. I remember this one well and I kind of liked this variation on the story, although it's a bit more comical.
I then came across this YouTube video of the story, kind of a short film. It's pretty good and I swear I think that's John Heard portraying Montresor, but I'm not sure. The video is poor quality, but I embedded it below, in case your might want to watch. I enjoyed it nonetheless. (My goodness, the way Montresor mocks Fortunado by making those screaming sounds...quite made me shudder)
Shmoop had some interesting discussion questions. I'll paste them below and then attempt to answer them as to my own thoughts. Feel free to do so as well in the comments, if you like.
- What if Montresor is a woman? Most people assume Montresor is a man. Why? Would it change the way you think about the story if Montresor is a woman?
- What kind of clown is Fortunato? We see lots of scary clowns in the movies and in books. Is Fortunato a scary clown? If so, what is scary about him? If not, why?
- How do you feel when you read "The Cask"? Claustrophobic? Tired? Something else? What about the story makes you feel this way?
- Could Fortunato narrate this story? Why, or why not? Make an argument for both sides of this debate.
If Montresor was a woman, I think it would be pretty kick ass. I, for one, think a woman would be quite adept at devising this kind of plot. Men, even enemies, seem to revert to good ole boy buddies when they're drinking and seem to temporarily forget past wrongs. The only thing that Montresor being a woman would change my thinking about the story is I would believe that Fortunado had wronged her by corrupting her innocence, or something to that effect.
I think Fortunado is portrayed as dressed up as a clown as a symbolism of his clown-like nature. What I'm thinking of is the person who is always clowning around and insulting people, thinly disguised as joking around. You know the type of person I'm talking about. I don't find him scary at all (well, unless was dressed as a circus clown. Yes, I have a phobia of those kinds of clowns).
I feel a bit bothered because I don't know how someone could kill another human being. And then I wonder what could Fortunado have done to Montresor to make him kill him in this way. And claustrophobic...yes! Who would ever want to be walled up alive. Ack!
I suppose it would be interesting for Fortunado to narrate since he really has no idea how much Montresor hates him and so it would be equally suspenseful, perhaps more. Feeling the horror of being walled up from his point of view would be pretty creepy. Also, we might get some insight into how Fortunado really feels about Montresor. He might say, in his narrative, "Montresor is such a prat. He knows nothing about good Amontillado." And so we would get a glimpse of why Montresor can't stand him.
I hope you will share your thoughts in the comments, or leave a link to your blog post.
Looking forward to next week and The Fall of the House of Usher!
Another story under my belt for R.I.P. X!