Essay title: The Cask of Amontillado and Porphyria’s Lover
“The Cask of Amontillado” and “Porphyria’s Lover” are literary works with similar themes. Both main characters experience tension that causes them to stray from the actual realm of reality. Reality is ignored, leading to the theme of murder that the story-poem pair shares. The writing styles of Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Browning are enriched by their choice of character, points of view, symbols, and settings. The setting in “The Cask of Amontillado” takes place in the catacombs. Catacombs were underground cellars, where the dead were stored.
Poe uses the catacombs as a symbolic backdrop to his macabre tale. The catacombs highlight Montresor’s transition from just thinking evil thoughts, to performing subhuman acts. Montresor is a man who has taken up the task of revenge.
In “Porphyria’s Lover,” the pair of lovers find themselves taking shelter from a storm. The characteristics of Porphyria are actually highlighted by the storm. As she sheds her clothes, she exposes her innocence and vulnerability. The storm is a setting that seems to encase the characters.
The heinous murders that take place are only enhanced by the settings of the literary works. The chosen settings rivet the attention of the audience. Fortunato’s name, is also symbolic for who he is as a character.
After all, Fortunato means fortunate or happy one.The story casts the imagery of a man who is laid back, and has been fortunate in his dealings with the world. On the opposing end of the spectrum is the vile Montresor.
Richards 2Montresor is a man who lives by the motto of his family crest. He considers himself godlike. Thus Montresor exalts his feelings and actions above all others, he considers any decisions he may make justifiable. Believing that he is a law unto himself, he is justified in taking the law into his own hands. In “Porphyria’s Lover,” her murderer feels justified in killing her to preserve their love.
Montresor has been driven by perverse anger triggered by an imagined insult. He kills in cold blood. On the other hand, the boyfriend of Porphyria, kills in the heat of the moment. He kills in hot blood. The strongest literary tool Poe uses in his story, is his choice for the point of view.
“The Cask of Amontillado” is told using the first person point of view. The first person point of view gives readers an intimate insight into Montresor’s mind. The story’s events are told as if it were a confession. His actions are unstable, which would make him an unstable narrator. The use of sadistic sarcasm and symbols only reiterates the evil plot’s unwrapping.
“A wrong is undressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done wrong” (p.312). The same insight of first person point of view is used by Browning.
Porphyria’s boyfriend realizes that he loves her. At this point the illusion of love takes over his actions. He kills for love, so that it will always be preserved in his mind. Situational irony develops with “Porphyria’s Lover.
”The audience is lead to believe their encounter would lead to love and passion, but instead it takes a turn for the worst. He murders his lover.Both narrators speak as if they personally know everyone who reads the story.
Through the confession – like dialogue, they feel justified in the murders they Richards 3 have committed. The one – on – one comfort expressed through the technique of first person perspective, gives a glimpse into murderous minds.Symbolism is a strong tool both authors use.
It draws attention to particular sequences the writers find important. More importantly, as symbols shape and affect characters, this leads to a better understanding for the audience. In “The Cask of Amontillado,” wine is a symbol of life and blood. As soon as the two men descend.