Cask of Amontillado – Psychoanalytic Analysis

The theory of psychoanalysis is based on the self-honesty in that a person is shaped by their experiences. An individual who is completely honest with themselves is more likely to be aware of their characteristics. The workings of the theory are patent in Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.” The story depicts a character with an extreme obsession to inflict vengeance.

Read also The Humor and Horror Aspects in the Setting of The Cask of Amontillado

            The depicted character is Montresor, who is very self-reflective about his desire for revenge. From the onset, the writer does not reveal why Montresor is determined to impose retribution on Fortunato. Instead, the story begins by highlighting Montresor’s plot against Fortunato. One minor hint that the reader contends with is that the Fortunato may have insulted Montresor in some way. This hint discloses Montresor’s insecurity as he is not tolerant of criticism and would prefer to resort to vengeance as the only resolution.

            Within the context of revenge, the audience learns that Montresor retains a bitter hatred toward Fortunato, which fuels his desire to torture and kill. This profound desire for revenge brings out some characteristics of Montresor’s character that he would not seemingly admit in person. Perhaps Montresor’s hate and overdeveloped yearning to revenge was triggered by past events. A certain occurrence may have contributed to his fanaticism towards a mere insult. The author maintains that the nature of Montresor’s “soul” does not give “utterance to a threat.” This shows that he does not withdraw from a threat. Rather, he prefers to retaliate and settle matters his own way.            

From a psychoanalytic perspective, Montresor’s desire for revenge and anger towards others as a result of trivial matters uncovers certain traits of his personality. It is Montresor’s self-honesty that gives the reader a more profound view of his character and behavior. In the end, his character materializes as quick-tempered, angry, intolerant, narrow-minded, and grumpy.

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