The existing psychological studies seem not to cover the true extent of its possibility as a variety of criticisms and analysis of this nature focused on the psychological interpretation of the fiction mainly treating them as unconscious manifestation of the writer's own problems. However, it is possible to undertake a more detailed psychological reading of his fiction, reaching beyond the conventional psychological analyses, in order to identify the author's awareness of the unconscious processes and imaginative powers. Thus, a detailed psychological analysis of the fiction by Poe, especially the major short stories such as "The Cask of Amontillado," reveals that the author was unusually aware of the often incomprehensible mental unconscious processes and also that he possessed tremendous understanding and control of the mental make up as Poe was blessed with a conscious theory of the mind and in this paper we undertake such an analysis. It is the author's skill in developing the character along the psychological path, completely understanding the way a character should act in similar situations, what helps him in creating characters of great recognition. A profound analysis of the story "the Cask of Amontillado" proves this great mastery of Poe in characterization.
To have a closer understanding of the biography and literary career of Edgar Allen Poe, before we proceed exploring the psychological analysis of "the Cask of Amontillado," we may state that the short career of the great American literary genius which came to a sudden tragic end due to drug abuse and consumption of alcohol was enough to carve an everlasting literary monument of prose and poetry that reminds the generations of the master craftsman. This great literary genius was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston as the son of David, Jr. (a lawyer-turned actor) and Elizabeth Poe (an English actress) and was blessed with a good literary background. He acquired fame as a novelist, critic, short story writer, and poet and worked in various literary magazines such as Burlington Gentleman's Magazine, Evening Mirror, and Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine. Significantly, Poe "was far ahead of his time in his vision of a special area of human experience--the "inner world" of dream, hallucination, and imagination." (Edgar Allan Poe, Bibliographical Essay, 2004). Poe has numerous poetry collections such as Tamerlane and Other Poems: By a Bostonian (1827), Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (1829), Poems (1831), The Raven and Other Poems (1845), and Eureka: A Prose Poem (1848), stories like Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840), Prose Romances: The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Man That Was Used Up (1843), and Tales (1845) etc to his credit. It is most significant that "Poe's stature as a major figure in world literature is primarily based on his ingenious and profound short stories, poems, and critical theories, which established a highly influential rationale for the short form in both poetry and fiction." (Edgar Allan Poe, Sidelights, 2004). Most remarkably, "there is a psychological intensity that is characteristic of Poe's writings, especially the tales of horror that comprise his best and best-known works. These stories--which