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التحليل الأدبي لقصه The Cask of Amontillado Empty التحليل الأدبي لقصه The Cask of Amontillado

الأربعاء سبتمبر 26, 2012 8:27 pm

التحليل الأدبي لقصه The Cask of Amontillado
التحليل الأدبي لقصه The Cask of Amontillado




The Cask of Amontillado





Plot Summary

As the story opens, an unnamed narrator explains, “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.” There is no hint as to whom the narrator is speaking or writing, and the “thousand injuries” and the “insult” committed by Fortunato are never described. Nevertheless, the narrator contemplates his desire for revenge and his plan to “not only punish, but punish with impunity”; that is, to punish Fortunato without being caught or punished himself. Furthermore, he is determined not to act in secrecy, for Fortunato must know that his pain is handed to him by Montresor.

Fortunato has no idea that Montresor is angry with him — Montresor has given no hint of it. When Montresor encounters his “friend” on the street one evening during the carnival season, Fortunato has no reason to be suspicious. Montresor asks Fortunato to come with him and sample a large cask of Amontillado, a type of wine, which Montresor has just purchased. Fortunato is justifiably proud of his ability to recognize good wines, and he is already drunk. He is easily persuaded to follow his friend, especially when Montresor assures him that if Fortunato cannot sample the wine for him, another man, Luchesi, will surely do it.



Montresor and Fortunato, who is dressed in his carnival costume of striped clothing and a conical jester’s cap with bells, go to Montresor’s palazzo. Conveniently, the servants are away enjoying the carnival, and no one sees them enter. They descend a long, winding staircase to the wine cellar and catacombs, the dark and damp tunnels and caverns beneath the palazzo where generations of Montresors have been laid to rest. As they walk on, they pass piles of bones and piles of wine casks, intermingled in the passageways. Montresor fusses over Fortunato’s health and his schedule, knowing that the more he suggests Fortunato give up the quest, the more his companion will be determined to see it through.

As they walk along, the men converse in an idle way, about the potentially hazardous ne forming on the walls, and the coat of arms of the Montresor family. To protect Fortunato from the damp, Montresor gives him drinks of two wines that are stored in the catacombs. When Fortunato reveals himself to be a member of the Masons, Montresor pulls a trowel from beneath his cape and declares that he, too, is a mason. Always Fortunato is pulled forward by the promise of the Amontillado.

Eventually they reach the last chamber, a crypt nearly full of piled bones with only a small alcove of empty space within. When Fortunato steps to the back to look for the Amontillado, Montresor quickly chains him to two iron staples fastened to the wall. He uncovers a pile of building stones concealed beneath some of the bones and begins to build a wall, sealing Fortunato in. As Fortunato recovers from his drunkenness and becomes aware of what is happening to him, he cries out for mercy, but Montresor pays no attention. He still refuses to speak of the offenses that have brought him to the point of murder, and Fortunato does not ask why Montresor is ready to kill him. Montresor finishes his wall and piles bones up against it, leaving Fortunato to die.

In the last lines, Montresor the actor is replaced again by Montresor the narrator, who began the story. Now he reveals that the murder happened fifty years before. In Latin he speaks over Fortunato’s body: “Rest in Peace



Characters


Fortunato

Fortunato is an Italian friend of Montresor’s, and his sworn enemy, whom Montresor has planned to “punish with impunity. “Although Montresor’s explains that Fortunato has committed a “thousand injuries” and a final “insult,” no details of these offenses are given. Fortunato displays no uneasiness in Montresor’s company, and is unaware that his friend is plotting against him. Fortunato, a respected and feared man, is a proud connoisseur of fine wine, and, at least on the night of the story, he clouds his senses and judgment by drinking too much of it. He allows himself to be led further and further into the catacombs by Montresor, stepping past piles of bones with no suspicion. He is urged on by the chance of sampling some rare Amontillado, and by his unwillingness to let a rival, Luchesi, have the pleasure of sampling it first. His singlemindedness, combined with his drunkenness, leads him to a horrible death.

Luchesi


Luchesi is an acquaintance of Montresor’s and Fortunato’s, and another wine expert. He never appears in the story, but Montresor keeps Fortunato on the trail of the Amontillado by threatening to allow Luchesi to sample it first if Fortunato is not interested.

Montresor

Montresor is the “I” who narrates the story, telling an unseen listener or reader about his killing of Fortunato fifty years before. Montresor is a wealthy man from an established family, who lives in a large “palazzo” with a staff of servants. He speaks eloquently and easily drops Latin and French phrases into his speech. He has been nursing a grudge against his friend Fortunato, who has committed several unnamed offenses against him, and has been coldly planning his revenge. Meeting Fortunato in the street one evening, Montresor takes this opportunity to lure his friend into the deepest catacombs beneath his palazzo, and there he chains Fortunato to the wall of a small alcove, seals him in behind a new brick wall which he builds even as Fortunato begs for mercy, and leaves him to die. Montresor’s coldness sets him apart from many murderous characters and many Poe protagonists. Even as he tells the story fifty years later, he reveals no regret for his actions, and no real pleasure in them. This lack of feeling made Poe’s early readers uncomfortable, and led some to accuse Poe of immorality in creating such a character.
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Themes



Revenge
The force that drives Montresor to commit the horrible murder of Fortunato is his powerful desire for revenge. His first words in the story speak of it: “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.” The idea of revenge is repeated several times in the opening paragraph. Montresor will not rush to act, he says, but “at length I would be avenged”; he is determined to “not only punish, but punish with impunity.” The terms of the revenge are quite clear in Montresor’s mind. He will not feel fully revenged unless Fortunato realizes that his punishment comes at Montresor’s hand; a wrong is not redressed “when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.” In seeking revenge, Montresor is acting out the motto of his people, as it appears on the family coat of arms, Nemo me impune lacessit (“No one wounds me with impunity”).

As countless critics have pointed out, the nature of the injuries and offenses is never revealed. Montresor appears to be telling or writing his story to someone who has more knowledge than Poe’s reader (“You, who so well know the nature of my soul”), and who may be assumed to know something of Fortunato’s conduct before the fateful night. Unlike Montresor’s audience, however, Poe’s audience/reader has no basis for judging the extent to which Montresor’s actions are reasonable. The focus, therefore, is not on the reason for revenge, but on the revenge itself, not on why Montresor behaves as he does but only on what he does.

Just as Montresor does not reveal his motive for the crime, other than to identify it as a crime of revenge, neither does he share with his audience his response when the deed is done. Does Montresor feel better once Fortunato has paid for his insult? Does he feel vindicated? Does he go back to his rooms and celebrate the death of his enemy, or smile inwardly years later when he remembers how he was able to “punish with impunity”? He does not say. Nineteenth-century audiences scanned the story for hints of negative feelings. Is Montresor sorry for committing murder? Does he regret his actions? As he nears the end of his life does he look to God for forgiveness? Again, there is no hint or perhaps only the barest of hints. Poe’s intention is to focus his story tightly. He does not explore the events leading up to the crime, nor the results of the crime, but focuses the story narrowly on the act of revenge itself.

Atonement and Forgiveness
Although the action of the story revolves almost entirely around the deception and killing of Fortunato, the questions in readers’ minds have revolved around Fortunato’s thoughts and deeds before the crime, and Montresor’s thoughts and deeds afterward. While the time between their chance meeting and the laying of the last stone would have taken only five or six hours, the fifty years following are perhaps more intriguing. Is Montresor deceiving himself or his audience when he attributes his momentary sickness to “the dampness of the catacombs” ? What has happened to Montresor over the intervening years, and why is he telling the story now? Is he hoping for forgiveness?

For forgiveness to occur, there must first be guilt and then atonement or remorse. Of course, there is no question of Montresor asking forgiveness of Fortunato, or reconciling with him, and no mention is given of Montresor’s paying any reparations to Lady Fortunato. Atonement, if there is to be any, must be with God alone. At the time of the murder, however, Montresor hears and rejects Fortunato’s appeal that he stop “For the love of

God, Montresor!” The murderer replies, “Yes, for the love of God!” but he does not stop building his wall. Surely he does not mean that he is acting for the love of God; instead, he is blatantly and defiantly rejecting it.

In other ways Poe keeps the idea of the Christian God in the foreground. Fortunato is chained to the wall in a standing position that some critics have compared to the posture of the crucified Jesus. His narrow space behind the wall echoes Jesus’s placement in a tomb. The story’s last words, In pace requiescat (Rest in peace), are taken from the Roman Catholic funeral ritual spoken in Latin. Critic John Gruesser believes that Montresor tells the story of his crime “as he presumably lies on his deathbed, confessing his crime to an old friend, the ‘You’ of the story’s first paragraph who is perhaps his priest.” Clearly Montresor’s guilt is established as not just an earthly legal guilt, but guilt in the eyes of a God that both victim and murderer recognize. The question remains: Was Montresor ever sorry for what he did? Poe does not appear interested in answering the question, although he surely knew that he was raising it, and knew that he had placed the answer tantalizingly out of reach.

Style

Point of View and Narrator

“The Cask of Amontillado” is told in the first person by Montresor, who reveals in the first sentence that he intends to have revenge from Fortunato He tells the story to an unidentified “you, who so well know the nature of my soul,” but this “you” does not appear to respond in any way as Montresor delivers a long monologue. The most striking thing about Montresor’s voice, in fact, is its uninterrupted calm and confidence. He tells the story from beginning to end with no diversion, no explanation, and no emotion. If he is gleeful at gaining his revenge, or if he feels guilty about his crime, he does not speak of it directly, and his language does not reveal it. Even at the most terrifying moment in the story, when Fortunato realizes that Montresor intends to seal him up behind a wall, the narrator is calm and detached: “I had scarcely laid the first tier of the masonry when I discovered that the intoxication of Fortunato had in a great measure worn off. The earliest indication I had of this was a low mourning cry from the depth of the recess. It was not the cry of a drunken man. There was then a long and obstinate silence. I laid the second tier, and the third, and the fourth.”

By presenting the story in the first person, Poe avoids hinting at any interpretation of the action. Montresor is in control, deciding what to tell and what to leave out. A third-person narrator, even a limited narrator who could not see into the minds and hearts of the characters, would have presented a more balanced story. An objective narrator telling a terrible story objectively might be frightening, but even more frightening is a man telling without emotion the story of his own terrible crime.

Setting


The setting of “The Cask of Amontillado” has attracted a great deal of critical attention, because both the location and the time of the story are only vaguely hinted at. To bring touches of the exotic to his murky atmosphere, Poe freely combines elements of different nations and cultures. Fortunato and Luchesi are Italians, knowledgeable about Italian wines. Montresor, as argued convincingly by Richard Benton and others, is a Frenchman. Amontillado is a Spanish wine. Montresor’s family motto, Nemo me impune lacessit, is the motto of the royal arms of Scotland. Sprinkled among the Latin motto and other Latin phrases are references to Montresor’s palazzo, his roquelaire, his rapier, and his flambeaux. If Poe’s readers could not be expected to identify the nationality of each element, so much the better for creating the impression that the story happens “in another place and time.”

The time of the story may be guessed at. Montresor’s short cape and rapier, the slightly formal vocabulary, and the torches used to light the men’s way seem to indicate that the story takes place in the eighteenth or nineteenth century. Scholars tracing the family name of Montresor and the history of laws governing the Mardi Gras carnivals in France have placed the date of the murder more precisely; John Randall III and others believe the murder occurs in 1796, while Benton argues for 1787-88.
Gothicism


Poe is often considered a master of the Gothic tale, and “The Cask of Amontillado” contains many of the standard elements of Gothicism. Gothic stories are typically set in medieval castles and feature mystery, horror, violence, ghosts, clanking chains, long underground passages, and dark chambers. The term “Gothic” originally referred to the Goths, an ancient and medieval Germanic tribe, but over time the word came to apply to anything medieval. The first Gothic novel, Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto (1764), was set in a medieval castle, and later works that attempted to capture the same setting or atmosphere were labeled “Gothic.”

Poe was fascinated with the materials and devices of the Gothic novel, although he preferred to work in the short story form. He was a great admirer of Walpole, and of the American Gothic writer Charles Brockden Brown. “The Cask of Amontillado” takes many details from the Gothic tradition: the palazzo of the Montresors with its many rooms, the archway that leads to the “long and winding staircase” down to the catacombs, the damp and dark passageway hanging with moss and dripping moisture, the piles of bones, the flaming torches that flicker and fade, and the “clanking” and “furious vibrations of the chain” that Montresor uses to bind Fortunato to the wall. The overall atmosphere of brooding and horror also come from this tradition.

Some elements of the Gothic, however, Poe intentionally avoided: there is no hint in “The Cask of Amontillado”, or in most of his horror stories, of the supernatural. Poe was quite clear on this point, explaining that the plot of a short story “may be involved, but it must not transcend probability. The agencies introduced must belong to real life.” Montresor’s crime is terrible, but it is believable, and it is committed without magic or superhuman power. Although there may be a hint of the supernatural in his remark that “for the half of a century no mortal has disturbed” the pile of bones outside Fortunato’s tomb, those beings that might not be mortal are not described, and indeed Fortunato does not reappear as a ghost or a vampire or a zombie. Poe uses Gothic conventions to create an atmosphere of terror, but then subverts the convention by using only human agents for terrible deeds. For Poe, it is not supernatural beings that people should fear; the real horror lies in what human beings themselves are capable of.









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التحليل الأدبي لقصه The Cask of Amontillado Empty رد: التحليل الأدبي لقصه The Cask of Amontillado

الإثنين أكتوبر 08, 2012 10:05 pm

It is a highly effective topic

thanks


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