.. ut Montressor plays with him. He likes to hear the suffering in the voice of his victim. He gets off on causing pain. Replying to Fortunato’s plea he mimics “Yes, let us be gone,” with contempt in his voice (Poe 7).
Montressor has broken another man’s spirit, and taken away his life. This makes him happy, because he has upheld a troublesome family motto “Nemo me impune lacessit” (“No one assails me with impunity”) (Poe 4). A twisted outdated motto causes the death of Fortunato. The burying of a live body conjures up images of desperation and hopelessness of the victim. Montrtessor has all of the power. He picks the time and place where Fortunato will meet his end. Obvious disregard of life is maniacal.
The perpetrator in The Tell-Tale-Heart states clearly that he enjoys the act of killing. “In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him, I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far gone” (Poe2). This sick individual not only kills the old man, but he “..dismembers the corpse. [He] cut off the head and the arms and the legs” (Poe 2). He seems to take pride in his clever cover up of the annihilation bragging “There was nothing to wash out –no stain of any kind –no blood spot whatever.
I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all -ha! ha!” (Poe 3). This man is a true sociopath, and psychotic. Any act one can imagine being grotesque he has committed. This is a person who is not in his right mind. His acts are shocking and almost unbelievable, but not quite.
There are deranged people who commit vile, meaningless acts of violence just because. The scariest part about this perversity is that it does happen, people can be this repugnant. The ultimate payback for wrongdoing is retribution. It is a means by which one releases anger. When revenge is taken, the outcome is satisfaction.
Power is definitely associated with it. The need to be the dominating figure in a relationship fuels the desire. Sometimes retribution is directed at personage who has little to do with what is being avenged. The person may be representative of a greater cause. He or she is just an outlet for abuse. It feels good to get even with someone, even if it is not the source of the problem. Poe has many problems that he can not fix.
This angers him. He does not understand why he is afflicted with so much grief. The Black Cat is a story that revolves around revenge. It is a more complex then first observed. The man is not lashing out at his animals because they have done something to offend him. The abuse is given because the animals can not fight back. They are defenseless against the brute force. He is really angry at society, but can not tap the proper channels to vent his rage.
“I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my At length, I even offered..personal violence” (Poe 1). He has grown cold throughout the years losing the lust for life he once had. He needs to seek refuge from the outside world. “..My disease grew upon me-for what disease is like Alcohol (Poe 1).
Alcohol gives him a place to hide and, contributes to his lunacy. Under the influence he becomes a monster. Poe himself “uses alcohol as an anesthetic to ease other problems, both physical and emotional” (Mankowitz 236). He feels isolated from society parallel to the nameless man in this story. Deliberately sinning allows the man to feel power. He is in control of his actions. I “..hung it because I knew that it had loved me, and because I knew that in so doing I was committing a sin..” (Poe 2). Challenging a system of beliefs questions its existence.
He is almost daring a higher power to punish him. This will let him know if there is something to believe in. He is a lost soul among many that is yearning for something to believe in. Poe is facing death, because of all of the pain he has gone through he too questions God. How could God let him suffer, and take his life so soon? He can not answer this, but his stories do scream the question. Retribution against death is a focus in The Tell-Tale-Heart.
The old man is symbolic of death. “He had the eye of a vulture–a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold (Poe 1). The vulture is a bird that only preys upon the dead. Blood running cold is associated with a corpse; therefore, death.
His words prove that the eye is expiration looking him in the face. “He was still sitting up in bed listening; –just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to death watches on the wall” (Poe 1). Killing the old man is retribution for fear of death. He is a constant reminder of the perpetrator’s greatest fear. Wondering when cessation is going to occur can drive a man insane.
“His eye would trouble me no more,” illustrates that the man has defeated death (Poe 2). This is ironic because death will always triumph in the end. The killing may give the man temporary solace from his fear, but it can not last. Poe’s illness causes him to constantly deal with the coming of his end. He too wishes there were something he can do to ward it off.
Obviously this is not possible. The Cask of Amontillado revels in revenge based on upholding one’s family motto. Fortunato disrespected Montressor, “the thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but he..ventured upon insult..” (Poe 1). Montressor is an extremely proud man. He takes the comments to heart, and is disturbed by them. His need for revenge is innate.
The need is genetic, based on the family motto, which states “No one assails me with impunity”. He is compelled to commit murder to honor his family name. Montressor must seek his resolution very mechanically. “A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong” (Poe 1). Fortunado must not know that he is seeking revenge, but when the plot is revealed it is imperative that he takes credit for the act. Montressor’s act of murder is calculated; thus, chillingly horrifying.
The organization insures that Fortunado is doomed. Poe’s interest in burial motifs allows him to explore the same themes, but using different premises. Poe’s free and out of the ordinary style is very successful in incorporating the supernatural, perverse, and retribution into his work. He maintains his interest as well as the reader’s by including subjects that are not prevalent. It is shocking, disturbing, and challenging to read.
Some of Poe’s literature has obvious relations to his own life, and how he coped with the problems that faced him. Having problems in ones life can escalate the soul to accomplish great things. Poe’s lifestyle is very much a part of style. Bibliography Mankowitz, Wolf. The Extraordinary Mr. Poe and his Times.
New York: Summit Books, 1978. Phillips, Mary E. Edgar Allan Poe-The Man, Volume II. Chicago, IL: The John C. Winston Co, 1912.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Black Cat. Online. Personal Computer. Simpatico. Internet.
18 March 1999. Available http://www.gothic.net/poe/works/black cat.txt Poe, Edgar Allan. The Cask of Amontillado. Online. Personal Computer. Simpatico.
Internet. 18 March 1999. Available http://www.literature.org/Works/Edgar-Allan-Poe/am ontillado.html Poe, Edgar Allan. The Tell-Tale-Heart. Online.
Personal Computer. Simpatico. Internet. 18 March 1999. Available http://www.gothic.net/poe/works/tell-tale heart.txt.