Symbol and Irony in the Short Story
Most readers are constrained to imagine whether such works could have been accomplished by the same person, or whether the man was not himself with drugs (which he never touched) or with wine (which he drank but under the influence of which, he was unable to write).Poe began to write verse before he was fifteen after which he published volumes of poetry. His first work as a short-story writer won a prize offered in 1833 by the Baltimore Saturday Visitor. Poe achieved recognition as a critic, is the first in America to appreciate E.B. Browning, Tennyson, Dickens, Hawthorne, and Lowell. Of his tales of fantasy, among the most remarkable is “The Cask of Amontillado”.The short stories of Edgar Allan Poe are replete with symbols and irony which he used to best advantage. The first short story of Poe to be analyzed for figurative language is “The Cask of Amontillado”. The story in a nutshell has to do with two equally wealthy friends – Fortunato and Montresor. Fortunato abuses the goodwill of Montresor who vows to take his revenge and finally does. He capitalizes on the former’s ability to distinguish among rare wines, although Montresor is just as knowledgeable. Fortunato flaunts his talent, whereas Montresor keeps a low profile. It is for an ulterior motive that he fakes his ignorance of wines.The very names of the characters are symbolic. Fortunato means “fortunate” while Montresor means “my treasure”. Fortunato may be said to be fortunate at the start since he was imbued with great wealth, but there is also such a thing as “ill fortune” which beset him in the end. The name Montresor could be a symbol for what Montresor valued most – his honor, since “the thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.” (Poe, Cask of Amontillado).Ironically, the opportunity for taking revenge occurred at the peak of the Carnival season – a time for revelry, gaiety, and good fellowship.