How the setting enhances the horror in the story
The title of the work is The Cask of Amontillado. The author of the work is Edgar Allan Poe. The source of the work is The Bedford Introduction to Literature. And the author of the source is Michael Myer. The story is within pages seven thirty-seven to seven forty-two. The story is about a man Montresor, who has a personal grudge against Fortunato for something that no one figures out in the story. Montresor seeks revenge upon Fortunato, he explains to the reader how he must complete his revenge in order to be successful. Montresor meets with Fortunato at carnival and uses wine as a way of getting them alone. Montresor does ends up trapping and killing Fortunato, but it is left to the reader to figure out rather if his revenge was successful or unsuccessful. In this short story Poe uses the setting to increase the impact of horror for the reader.
Poe provides horror through setting in many ways of the story. One of the examples that comes later in the story would be when Montresor and Fortunato are walking through the vaults. In this part of the story Poe uses dark words to explain the vaults of Montresor. Such as a winding staircase and descent, when you picture a winding staircase that is descending you think of reaching a very low dark place of any older mansion. I passed down a long and winding staircase, requesting him to be cautious as he followed. (739) Back in this time when the bigger houses of wealthier men were very morbid in style of build. The reader automatically thinks of a underground, dark, and cold place making the story seem more horrid.
When they get to the bottom of the staircase the reader realizes that they are standing in a network of catacombs. And the smell of nitre is brought to the readers attention by Fortunato.
We came at length to the foot of the descent, and stood together on the damp ground of the catacombs of the Montresors. The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode. The pipe? said he. It is farther on, said I; but observe the white web-work which gleams from these cavern walls. He turned toward me, and looked into my eyes with two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication. Nitre? he asked, at length. Nitre, I replied. (739)
Catacombs are networks of underground burial galleries. And nitrate is what is used to help preserve the dead bodies that are around Montresor and Fortunato at the time, which Fortunato points out. Being around dead bodies is full of horror within itself, but among that you also get the notion that Fortunato is also starting to get a little uneasy.
While noticing the catacombs, Montresor also brings up spider webs along the walls are brought to the readers attention. Any dark, cold place with a lot of spider webs hanging of the walls seems like a very creepy place for anyone to be. Montresor says but observe the white web-work which gleams from these cavern walls. (739) Anyone who is walking in a darker area covered with spider webs all over the walls would not feel very safe in that type of atmosphere.
Towards the end of the story Montresor has led Fortunato to his own death. A very vivid picture of the Fortunatos tomb is explained mixed with the readers emotions of a dark and cold vault deep within the depths of the house, it chills the readers spine.
At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains, piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the fourth the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size. Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones, we perceived a still interior recess, in depth about four feet, in width three, in height six or seven. It seemed to have been constructed for no especial use within itself, but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circumscribing, walls of solid granite.
The reader reaches a point of horrid excitement knowing that Fortunato is about to die in the dark, cold, creepy corner of the crypt.
The reader can conclude that Poe does a very good job conveying horror in the story through setting. There are many dark events that happen in this story that wouldnt impact the reader near as much as it does if Poe didnt put a lot of depth into the setting to make the story seem more dark. Such events like Poe explaining the darkness of the vault that Montresor leads them into. And all of the things that came along with it, the spider webs, and the smell of dead bodies that linger in the air.