Compare and Contrast Treatment of Revenge in “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe and “One of These days” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The revenge being carried out n The Cask of Amontillado and One of These Days differ in four ways:
In The Cask of Amontillado, revenge was carefully planned. Montresor, the “wronged one”, determined the place, date and manner of retribution. In fact he see to it that no one will ever find out what he did to the offender, the unfortunate Fortunato. During the carnival season, before Montresor even saw or spoke to his friend Fortunato in the said event, he already instructed his servants to go out and attend the festivities, that they should be back only the next morning as he himself will be out the whole night. The truth is, he was planning to murder Fortunato that night down at the catacombs of his palazzo. When he led Fortunato down to his doom, he even took out a trowel from his cloak and showed it to his friend. The fact that he carried a trowel clearly indicates that he was already planning to plaster Fortunato with stones and mortar. Sure enough, at the place of doom, chains, padlock, building stones and mortar were already waiting to be used by the scheming and vengeful Montresor. In One of These Days, there was no definite place, time or manner of revenge being planned by the dentist, Aurelio Escovar. As the title of the story implied, revenge may be carried out vaguely somewhere in time with no definite assurance that it will be pursued after or will actually be committed. When the offender, the Mayor, visited him, Escovar went about doing his routine with no sign that he was expecting something to happen. Although the dentist seemed to be lost in thought while working there was no indication that he was thinking of the Mayor or that he was planning to do any harm against him. The story seemed to imply that his absent-mindedness was a habit as he was described as a man who had a “look that rarely corresponds to the situation, the way deaf people have of looking”. Although he took out a revolver from his drawer, it was not because he wants to intentionally shoot the Mayor, he was only trying to defend himself in the event that the Mayor will make good his threat as he son informed him that if he will not pull out the Mayor’s infected tooth “…he will shoot him”. Also, if he did plan to shoot the Mayor, he would have not allowed his son to be with him in the clinic.
Although the dentist had some ill feelings against the Mayor, it was not as deep as that of Montresor against Fortunato. Montresor’s anger against Fortunato was due to an unidentified insult made by Fortunato against him. According to Montresor, Fortunato will not go unpunished since he adhered to his family’s motto of: “Nemo me impune lacessit”(“No one assails me with impunity”). His strict adherence to this motto revealed his capacity to hold a grudge whenever someone hurt him. The dentist on the other hand, seemed to hold a more feeling of disgust than grudge against the Mayor. The Mayor was responsible for the death of twenty men. And when the dentist asked where to send the bill, “to him or the town?” the Mayor replied without looking “It’s the same damn thing”. This statement indicated that he seemed to think he owned the town, implying that he was a corrupt public official. He did not even pay with his own personal money the extraction of his tooth. The townsfolk may have generally shared the dentist’s feelings. The Mayor might have not personally hurt the dentist.
The revenge being carried out in The Cask of Amontillado was far more brutal than that in One of These Days. In the former, Fortunato was chained to the granite walls and then buried alive by plastering him with stones and mortar. In that state, he is expected to die from hunger and exhaustion. Aside from physical suffering, he will also experience mental torture as he recovered from his drunken state and realized the hopelessness of his situation since surely no one will be able to help him in that isolated place. In One of These Days, revenge was carried about by showing a lack of concern and compassion to the suffering Mayor. As a dentist, Aurelio Escovar, was expected to be gentle and concern to his patient especially to a Mayor. However, he went about his task in no hurry and when he pulled out the Mayor’s tooth without anesthesia he said; “Now you will pay to our twenty dead men.” With these words, Escovar communicated his anger to the Mayor. In the former story, the offender died as a result of his insult while in One of these Days the offender was relieved of his pain after going through an insult.
In satisfying his revenge, Montresor concealed his true feelings against Fortunato. When he met him, he appeared to be glad and even pretended to be concerned with Fortunato’s health. When they were on their way down, Montresor even suggested that they go back since he did not want to be the cause of the worsening of Fortunato’s cough. He even informed Fortunato that instead of him he would let their other friend, Luchesi, inspect the Amontillado. Until the end, Fortunato did not suspect that Montresor was planning to do him any harm. In One of These Days Escovar did not hide his angry feelings against the Mayor. When he shouted back to his son to lie to the Mayor by telling him that he was not at the clinic and realized that the Mayor was already there and heard his refusal to perform his duty as a dentist, Escovar did not show any sign of panic. In fact, he did not apologize to the Mayor for that statement. He did not pretend to show any concern or compassion to the Mayor. This attitude of Escovar is an insult to the Mayor. The Mayor himself, aware of these feelings, never leaves his eyes off Escovar. He even tried to befriend Escovar by smiling at him in the midst of his pain. The Mayor had to swallow his pride before the dentist since no else can relieved him of his pain.
The differences in the treatment of revenge by the two stories are due to the differences in the nature of the offense, the situation that they were in and the philosophy of life of the “offended victims”.
“The Cask of Amontillado”. 2007 Google. Literature.Org. 8 August 2007.
“One of These Days”. Classic Short Stories. 8 August 2007.