The cask of Amontillado

Without a conclusion a story would become life as it is before death, it would keep going on, as each new page would become yet another story to tell. Fortunately, for the trees of our world, authors have come up with a way to find a place in the story to end their narrative. Many writers use the concept of close-ended stories, which normally wrap up the story with the “Good outwitting the Evil”, and “the situation that was destabilized at the beginning becomes stable once again” (Beaty, 15).

In open-ended stories the reader is left wondering about many aspects about the story, such as in “The Use of Force”, where a little girl is left sitting on the lap on one of the three adults that have just finished assaulting her. Does she grow up fearing doctors and dentists? Does she even grow up, or does she succumb to the ravages of Diphtheria? Using the elements of theme, symbol and point of view in this essay I intend to compare “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Use of Force”, and state why I prefer one to the other.

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Both stories focus on the theme of society’s fascination with life stories that are different and unique; they focus on things with a dark side. “The Cask of Amontillado”, is an excellent tale of revenge, and of the evilness that lurks in a chosen few. Montressor, the protagonist and narrator of this tale, has planned a horrendous trap for Fortunato. He seeks revenge for “a thousand injuries” that, with time “ventured on insult” (Kafka, 70), and that were imposed upon him by Fortunato.

Montressor intends to settle the score in support of his family motto, which when translated from Latin into English reads, “No one provokes me with impunity” (72). This motto speaks volumes about Montressor’s darkness. The theme of “The Use of Force” is that of brute strength, another dark side to Ferguson 2 human existence. The beginning of the struggle tells us of how a doctor admits to having “fallen in love with the savage brat”(Williams, 485), and recognizes that he is behaving irrationally.

The closing paragraphs could as easily be depicting that of a rape as that of a forced throat examination. This little girl, whose name we are never told, is trapped just as Fortunato was in “The Cask”, she is literally fighting for her life, as she screams, “Stop it! You’re killing me! ” (485). A symbol is “something that stands for something else”(Beaty, 195), such as a light going off above someone’s head when an idea strikes them. Fortunato, dressing like a jester, with bells on his hat, in the “Cask of Amontillado”, was symbolic of the way Montressor made him look.

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