Irony in the Cask of Amontillado Examples

Irony in the Cask of Amontillado

There are three types of irony in literature:

  • Situational Irony is created when events happen that are contrary to what the character or the readers expect. An example would be when the character and readers attend a happy marriage ceremony, but the bride is secretly heartbroken to be marrying the groom.
  • Verbal Irony is created when characters say the opposite of what they really mean. Sarcasm is a type of verbal irony. An example would be when a character says he is extremely happy to be seated next to someone whom he despises.
  • Dramatic Irony is created when the readers know something that the characters don't. An example would be when the audience knows that Juliet is not dead, but Romeo thinks she is.

Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Cask of Amontillado" is filled with examples of irony. The protagonist Montresor has been "wronged" repeatedly by Fortunado. He plots his revenge and lures a drunk Fortunado into underground catacombs with the promise of letting him taste some amontillado wine that he has down there. In reality, Fortunado is being lured to his death, and Montresor chains him in the catacombs and builds a wall in front of him-essentially burying him alive.

Examples of Irony in the Cask of Amontillado:

Examples of Irony in "The Cask of Amontillado"

  • Fortunado's name-While his name means "fortunate," Fortunado is anything but as he is lured into the catacombs and buried alive by Montresor. This is situational irony.
  • Dramatic irony is created throughout the story because the reader knows that Montresor hates Fortunado and he is luring him into the catacombs for a dark purpose.
  • In another example of situational irony, Fortunado is dressed as a jester in the story. He is dressed for a night of revelry and fun. This creates additional irony when he first believes that Montresor's actions are a "very good joke indeed." Further, when Montresor throws a torch over the wall in an attempt to provoke a response from the quiet Fortunado, all he hears is the tinkling of the bells from Fortunado's hat.
  • Verbal irony is created as the pair journey into the catacombs. Fortunado has a cough, and Montresor asks him to "return," or go out of the catacombs a few times. Fortunado continues in the hopes of sampling the amontillado. After Montresor chains Fortunado to the wall, he says, "Once more, let me implore you to return. No?" This is ironic because Montresor has no intention of letting Fortunado go.
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