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To Know Poe Is to Love Him

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To Know Poe is To Love Him

Students early in their scholastic advancements have read the standards, classics from writer's like Twain and Shakespeare and have studied them for years. After reading Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," he should be added near the top of the list. From the opening sentence, to the last period, Poe has the reader wanting more. The reader knows from the opening sentence of, "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge," (Poe 216), that they are on a journey into the dark abyss that only Poe can deliver.

During the time Poe was writing the story, he was in a legal battle with Hiram Fuller and Dr. Thomas D. English, and although no one knows the inspiration behind Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," there have been a few theories; most intriguing of these was written by Francis B. Dedmond, "The Cask of Amontillado "and the War of The Literati." Dedmond writes: "The Cask of Amontillado" as a product of the Poe-Fuller and the Poe-English feuds and as a sublimation of Poe's desire for revenge upon Hiram Fuller, editor of the New York Evening Mirror and the New York Mirror, and upon Dr. Thomas Dunn English." (Dedmond 137). He further writes that the characters of the story are "recognized at once as the three principal ideas which, it has been shown, were occupying the mind of Poe at the time of writing this tale." (Dedmond 144). If both the "The War of the Literati" and "The Cask of Amontillado" is read, the reader at once will come up with the same conclusion.

Poe is known for his macabre writing style and takes the reader down a path of darkness and shows that when man is wronged, either in reality or perceived, he will seek justice. In the story, the main character shows how man has a dark side and uses emotion to exact his vengeance. J.Rea notes in "Poe's 'The Cask of Amontillado,"' That Poe uses "Perversity, which Poe believed is the urge to do what one knows one should not do, including the urge 'to hurt or to kill or to bury alive someone because he has been good to us."(Rea 58-59).

Many writers today consider Poe as one of the greatest classical American writers and give him credit for establishing the short story in America. Charles May's analysis in his "Edgar Allan Poe," gives credit by writing, "as the author who helped to establish and develop America's one real contribution to the world of literature-the short story form."(May 4). He continues by saying that "His (Poe) stories and criticism have been models and guides for writers in this characteristically American genre up to the present time." (May 4). May further adds that "The Cask of Amontillado" is one of the clearest example of Poe's theory of the unity of the short story, for every detail in the story contributes to the overall ironic effect." (May 8).

After more than 160 years since his death, Poe is still the standard of the short story. His writing style is still being used by authors to write their short stories today. In his essay, "Rhyme and



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