The Impact Of Epiphanies On The Characters Montresor And “The Narrator”

Epiphanies play a vital role in shaping a character, the sequence of events around them, and their ultimate end in a fiction story. It used widely in fiction stories to show how characters arise, grow, and reach climax in the plot of a story. This paper is designed to observe the impact of epiphanies on the characters Montresor (in Cask of Amontillado) and “The Narrator” of (Tell-Tale Heart) as put forth by Edgar Allan Poe.

Montresor is the main character and “immoral” antagonist in the story. The epiphany is in the first paragraph of the short story. It is when Montresor starts his journey to seek revenge against Fortunato for insulting him. He thinks revenge will bring him comfort and peace of mind. First, Montresor starts by gripping and holding in his heart Fortunato’s insult (Poe, 1846). In his statement, it is possible to see that Montresor has tried his best to bare the insults until this moment when it has become unbearable (Poe, 1846). The second epiphany starts when Montresor initiates a journey to finding an end to Fortunato’s insult. Montresor wants a revenge which will not only be painful but also filled with impunity (Poe, 1846). He settles for killing Fortunato by chaining him and burying him alive. In this way, Montresor finds a blunt solution to the unbearable insults.

It is apparent that the mentioned moments of awakening affected the character. It turned Montresor into a murderer. Thus, the epiphanies in this story had vast negative impacts on the character.

In “The Tell-Tale Heart” story, the author reveals the dark side of human nature. It is the dark side that appears clearly in a psychopath’s mind but not in a normal human being. The author shows that nature. According to the narrator, Fortunato’s death was “somewhat” deserved because of what he had done to him.

The author does not tell us the name and identity of the main character. However, we know that the character is a temperamental person who ends up murdering and later confessing to murder after a haunting sense of guilt overcomes him (let us assume the narrator is male because of the use of the term madmen in the narration (Poe, 1843). The narrator goes through three epiphanies. First, he decides to kill an old man because he has an evil eye that make him uncomfortable. After the murder, the narrator feels liberated and free (Poe, 1843). He also feels that he is a clever person because the police do not find out that he is the murderer. After this sense of widespread self-recognition and acknowledgement, the narrator starts feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt. Thirdly, the narrator starts hearing ringing voices in the head and eventually ascends into madness. So, he decides to come out clean to the police and see if he will find peace of mind.

In this case, the epiphanies changed the narrator in three stages. First, the murder comes with a sense of liberation and self-recognition. Secondly, the epiphanies lead the author into madness as he cannot continue bearing the feeling of guilt. Finally, the narrator decides to take responsibility for his action by confessing to the police.

The author in this story is trying to tell us that our actions often come after us. It does not matter whether you did it in hiding or in the limelight of the public. At the end, the wrong actions have a way of haunting and punishing us. Most importantly, the author appears to caution us against committing murder or killing others and trying to walk away unpunished.

In the end, it is apparent that epiphanies play a vital role in shaping a character, sequence of events around them, and their ultimate end in a fiction story. In these stories by Edgar Allan Poe, the epiphanies of the narrator and Montresor shape them as “immoral murderers” and “wrecks” that make foolish decision which cast their lives to a different path of regret and guilt. Poe’s narrator ends up with mental instability and in police cells which is his ultimate end. Therefore, taking an account of these characters, it is valid to conclude that moments of awakening play a crucial role in shaping a character, his actions, the path that his life follows, and eventually his ultimate end 

07 July 2022
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