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Young Goodman Brown and the Cask of Amontillado

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Lane, DeJon


ENGL 2110 B1I

24 Oct. 2016

“Young Goodman Brown and “The Cask of Amontillado.”

The story “The Cask of Amontillado” and “Young Goodman Brown” are both stories of evil being portrayed. In the story “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe, the narrator, Montresor, wants to seek revenge on a wine lover by the name of Fortunado by punishing Fortunado for something he did to Montresor in the past. In the story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the traveler wants to show an innocent man, Goodman Brown, the Puritanism hypocrisy by showing him the evil in those he thought were virtuous. Even though the evil is evident in the two men, each man is evil in his own way and works from a motive specific to benefit themselves. Although Montresor and the traveler have different motives, both exploit, deceive, and manipulate their victims. The evil perpetrated by both characters is the major theme of each story. While Montresor in “The Cask of Amontillado" wishes to punish Fortunado for revenge, the traveler’s only motive is to reveal to Young Goodman Brown the Puritan hypocrisy.

Both Montresor and the traveler use the weaknesses of their victims to advantage of them. Fortunato was prideful of his knowledge of winery, so Montresor used Fortunato’s passion of wine to lure him down into the vaults by telling Fortunato of a rare famous wine, where unbeknown to him, he was following Montresor blindly to his own murder. In similarity, the traveler uses Goodman’s weakness of faith to get Brown to follow him farther into the forest. Poe avers, “he had a weak point, Fortunato, although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared.” Hawthorne describes that “They continued to walk onward, while the elder traveler exhorted his companion to make good speed and persevere in the path, discoursing so aptly, that his arguments seemed rather to spring up in the bosom of his auditor, than to be suggested by himself.” The traveler was aware of Brown’s faith is wavering with anticipation every step farther into the forest. The reality that the traveler and Montresor can see the weaknesses of their victims helps the suceed in acting out their malicious plans. Montresor as well as the traveler use deception as the key to being able to manipulate Fortunato and Goodman Brown.

However, Montresor and the traveler both had different tactics but the same goal to masterfully manipulate others to their demise. In “Cask of Amontillado” Edgar Allen Poe uses Montresor’s twisted skill of deception, manipulation, and seeking out others weaknesses to highlight his journey to seek revenge, while Hawthorne in “Young Goodman Brown” used the traveler’s persuasive tactics to highlight Brown’s journey of inner conflict, providing the inevitable notion that the underlying struggle of good and evil exists in all people. The Young Goodman Brown and Fortunato both are taken advantage of by master manipulators with the end result of meeting their demise in different ways. Brown’s faith is decimated by the traveler leaving his spirituality completely dead, and Fortunato is murdered by Montresor. At the end of each story, Hawthorne and Poe, ask their readers to explore the dark side of human nature through their master manipulators Montresor and the traveler.



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