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Abstract

The religious imagery present in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” allow critics to read this short story as an allegory and demonstrate the ways in which Montresor and Fortunato reenact the biblical struggle between good and evil. However, the criticism surrounding Poe’s character Montresor is divided. Some critics, such as Donald Pearce and Jay Jacoby view Montresor as a fully devilish character while others, such as Philip M. Pittman, read Montresor as the Christ-figure. Because of this confusion, Montresor’s character becomes complicated. This paper strengthens the Mephistophelean reading of Montresor’s character through a close examination of religious imagery and symbols present throughout the text. Additionally, this paper complicates its own reading by demonstrating that Montresor and Fortunato are doubles. This relationship between Montresor and Fortunato allows Montresor to become a sympathetic character and reveals to the reader the ambiguity of human nature.

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