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Montresor's Mental Illness as Highlighted in Edgar Allan Poe's Short Story The Cask of Amontillado,

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“The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.” This is the line that opens up Edgar Allen Poe’s “short story”, The Cask of Amontillado. It shows the audience what the story is about, which is a conflict between the two main characters Montresor and Fortunato. Edgar Allen Poe does not tell us exactly what happened between Fortunato and Montresor to make Montresor want revenge, but we could make the infer that it was something pretty bad. We also don’t know what Montresor means when he says that he wants revenge. We’d soon find out later in the story that Montresor’s revenge meants that he would capture Fortunato and lock him in a catacomb so he could not escape and then murdering his old friend. Why would Montresor do such a thing? What caused Montresor to just snap and murder his friend Fortunato? I believe that Montresor must’ve had some sort of mental illness that would push him to the point of murder.

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The first mental illness that comes to mind when thinking of people who have murdered is schizophrenia. The definition of schizophrenia according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “A very serious mental illness in which someone cannot think or behave normally and often experiences delusions.” Many infamous serial killers over the years, such as Ed Gein, Richard Chase and David Gonzalez. Some of the major symptoms of schizophrenia are disorganized and compulsive behavior, aggression and anger, anxiety, paranoia and the belief that an ordinary event has special and personal meaning. It is shown that Montresor has multiple of these symptoms in the story, especially aggression and the belief that an ordinary even has a personal meaning. This could mean that Fortunato did something small to anger Montresor, and since he possibly has schizophrenia, that could have led Montresor to believe that murdering Fortunato was the only valid option. People who suffer from schizophrenia are known to harm and murder other people, so suggesting that Montresor is suffering from such an illness is completely valid.

Another possible illness that Montresor could possibly be suffering from is bipolar disorder. According to WebMD, bipolar disorder is a mental illness that brings severe high and low mood swings and produces changes in sleeping patterns, energy, thinking and behavior. Those last two could go hand in hand with Montresor, as his behavior and thinking in this story is horrendous. The following quote is thought of by Montresor in the story. “I continued, as was my in to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my to smile now was at the thought of his immolation” (Poe). This shows how Montresor was thinking that night. He was thinking of Fortunato’s death while smiling and talking to the man. This can easily be signs of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

The final possible illness that Montresor could have is antisocial personality disorder, also knowns as APD. Antisocial personality disorder is a mental illness that is best known for being the reason most serial killers do what they do. Infamous serial killers such as Ted Bundy and Robert Black both had APD. The definition of antisocial personality disorder, according to MedlinePlus, is “A mental condition which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others.” This definition perfectly describes Montresor. His behavior can be described as criminal behavior, as he perfectly plans his plots to murder Fortunato. Montresor has devilish behavior in The Cask of Amontillado. Montresor could most certainly contain the mental illness of antisocial personality disorder, as he matches all of the symptoms of the illness.

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In conclusion, the character of Montresor in the “short story” The Cask of Amontillado may very well have the mental illnesses of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or antisocial personality disorder. He murders his old friend Fortunato all over something presumably small that happened between the two. His devilish behavior in the story as he lures his friend into the underground catacombs and brutally murders him is scary to imagine happening. It seems that everything Montresor does in this story is something only a serial killer with a serious mental illness can even consider doing. Edgar Allen Poe developed this maniacal character so well in The Cask of Amontillado. You can just tell by reading the first few paragraphs that Montresor is evil, especially when murdering his old ‘friend’ Fortunato comes into play.

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