Read Ett fat amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe Free Online
Book Title: Ett fat amontillado|
The author of the book: Edgar Allan Poe
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 38.83 MB
ISBN 13: No data
Date of issue: August 1st 2007
ISBN: No data
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The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe is a classic tale of revenge. Since there are dozens of posts here, my review will take a particular slant: what German pessimistic philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer has to say about the psychology of revenge and how the revengeful narrator in Poe’s tale relates to Schopenhauer’s insights.
Schopenhauer says we all suffer as the result of nature or chance but, as humans, we recognizes that is simply the way life works. He then writes, “Suffering caused by the will of another, on the other hand, includes a quite peculiar and bitter addition to the pain or injury itself, namely the consciousness of someone else’s superiority, whether in point of strength or of cunning, together with that of one’s own impotence.”
It’s that person to person dynamic that gives us the real sting; someone intentionally shoves or hits us, humiliates or insults us, and, for whatever reason, we simply take it. This is what happened in the aristocrat-narrator’s mind – he was insulted by Fortunato. I say ‘in the aristocrat-narrator’s mind’ since we as readers don’t know if Fortunato actually intended to insult him.
Schopenhauer sees two phases of compensation for the person who has suffered at the hands of another. 1) direct and legal – a stranger hits us and we take him to court and win a settlement 2) revenge – to deal with the psychological afterglow of the stranger’s blow. Here are his words: “Recompense, if possible, can cure the injury done; but that bitter addition, the feeling ‘and that is what I have to put up with from you’ which often hurts more than the injury itself, can be neutralized only by revenge.”
The narrator says his is not of a nature to merely threat. Being an aristocrat himself, that is, someone who is accustom to living life and having life on his own terms, he will not even consider direct or legal action or a mere threat. His first step is revenge, and a revenge where he will never be discovered or punished for exacting his revenge and a revenge where Fortunato will be fully aware he is the avenger.
Here is the payoff for the avenger as Schopenhauer sees it: “By returning the injury, either by force or by cunning, we demonstrate our superiority over him who has injured us and thereby annul the proof he gave of his superiority over us. Thus the heart acquires the satisfaction it thirsted for. Where, consequently there is much pride or much vanity, there will also be much reveangefulness.”
This is where the philosopher’s insights fit the characters in Poe’s tale like a finely made Italian glove. Fortunato is a pompous aristocrat, a man full of himself, a man who, in the course of the story, calls another man by the name of Luchresi an ignoramus since Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry. The narrator, in turn, with his vaults and wines, his family crest and family motto, is filled to the brim with pride and vanity. And as he locks Fortunato to the damp wall and seals him up in the cold, dark nave, we as readers get the feeling his revenge is as sweet as sweet can be. As Alfred Hitchcock said, “Revenge is sweet and not fattening.”
Schopenhauer’s words on the psychology of the avenger are penetrating. He writes, “But, as every fulfilled desire reveals itself more or less as a delusion, so does that for revenge. Usually the pleasure we hoped for from it is made bitter by the pity we afterwards feel; indeed, an exacted revenge will often subsequently break the heart and torment the conscience; we no longer feel the motivation which drove us to it, but the proof of our wickedness remains visibly before us.”
Poe’s tale ends with the narrator-avenger completing his stone and plaster task and feeling his heart grow sick from the dampness of the catacombs. But this is the rub. He feels his heart grow sick but it this truly caused by the dampness of the catacombs? Might the narrator-avenger experience pity and hear-break and a torment of consciousness in the days, weeks and years to come? If he is not mad, then perhaps; if he is mad, then perhaps not. Since this is a tale written by Edgar Allan Poe, madness is always a real possibility. Thus, we can imagine the narrator-avenger spending his remaining days drinking wine from his vaults with a smug, satisfied smile, knowing there is one more pile of bones in his collection.
Read information about the authorThe name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and include such literary classics as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Fall of the House of Usher. This versatile writer’s oeuvre includes short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundreds of essays and book reviews. He is widely acknowledged as the inventor of the modern detective story and an innovator in the science fiction genre, but he made his living as America’s first great literary critic and theoretician. Poe’s reputation today rests primarily on his tales of terror as well as on his haunting lyric poetry.
Just as the bizarre characters in Poe’s stories have captured the public imagination so too has Poe himself. He is seen as a morbid, mysterious figure lurking in the shadows of moonlit cemeteries or crumbling castles. This is the Poe of legend. But much of what we know about Poe is wrong, the product of a biography written by one of his enemies in an attempt to defame the author’s name.
The real Poe was born to traveling actors in Boston on January 19, 1809. Edgar was the second of three children. His other brother William Henry Leonard Poe would also become a poet before his early death, and Poe’s sister Rosalie Poe would grow up to teach penmanship at a Richmond girls’ school. Within three years of Poe’s birth both of his parents had died, and he was taken in by the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances Valentine Allan in Richmond, Virginia while Poe’s siblings went to live with other families. Mr. Allan would rear Poe to be a businessman and a Virginia gentleman, but Poe had dreams of being a writer in emulation of his childhood hero the British poet Lord Byron. Early poetic verses found written in a young Poe’s handwriting on the backs of Allan’s ledger sheets reveal how little interest Poe had in the tobacco business.
For more information, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_al...
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