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“The Cask of Amontillado” by Poe

The murder of Fortunato perpetrated by Montresor has produced quite a stir in the community, causing people to question whether the need for vigilance and vengeance could override the existing legal standards. However, despite some people showing certain amount of empathy for Montresor, the case went to court immediately after the respective evidence was found. Unfortunately, saving Fortunato was not longer a possibility; when his body was discovered, he had already been dead for several days. However, the court case raised quite some noise in the community as it was presented since the opinions within the community were rather divided. The arguments of the defense were stellar in their logic and unparalleled in their emotional effect; however, the devious nature of the crime could not have led to any other outcome but the ultimate conviction.

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In his closing speech, the prosecuting attorney made a remarkable effort to uncover the sinister nature of the defendant’s actions, thus, removing any chance of sympathy for him among the jury. Namely, the prosecution outlined the fact that, despite being represented as having been caused by emotional distress, the crime was not committed under the spurt of the moment. On the contrary, Montresor had been planning his revenge for years before he finally had the chance to make it come to fruition. According to the prosecution, the described course of actions indicated the presence of deeply antisocially behavior and the presence of a clear intent devoid of any morals. Therefore, arguing that Montresor murdering Fortunato was a crime of passion and, therefore, should be tried as such, is entirely lacking any evidence; in fact, if anything, the observed and collected data indicates the opposite.

Furthermore, it is essential to draw attention to the manner in which the defendant described his actions after attacking Fortunato and burying him alive. Namely, the defendant mentioned the following: “I had completed the eighth, the ninth and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered” (Poe, 1846, para. 78). The fact that Montresor denies any possibility of classifying this case as a crime of passion; if anything, it only proves that the murder of Fortunato was well-planned and committed completely in cold blood. Thus, one will have to conclude that the defendant’s actions show no redeeming value and are indicative of a malicious intent. For this reason, Montresor must face the punishment for a first-degree murder.

Overall, the prosecution’s speech was met with support from most jury members. Due to the horrendous nature of the crime and the cruelty of it, the jury considered it to be indefensible. Furthermore, the lack of emotion, particularly any sign of remorse that Montresor had shown after committing this crime, proved that he represented an evident threat to the community. According to the obtained evidence, Montresor could hear Fortunato’s cries for help and mercy clearly, yet he continued burying him alive without any sign of empathy: “A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back.” (Poe, 1846, para. 77). Therefore, it was the jury’s conclusion that Montresor deserved life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The verdict was supported unanimously, and Montresor was sentenced accordingly. Thus, despite the ambiguity of Montresor’s intentions and the empathy that some community members showed to him, he finally had to face justice as well.


Poe, E. A. (1846). The cask of amontillado.

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