They were called Gothic because most of them took place in gloomy, medieval castles built in the same Gothic style of architecture prevalent during that time. Such buildings had many secret passageways, dungeons and towers that provided ideal settings for strange happenings. People were looking for an escape from their dreary lives and this stories which combined romance and horror provided this. Edgar Allen Poe became an American master of this form. His story a Cask of Amontillado is one of the finest stories in the genre. The theme is plainly revenge.
The plot of the story is a simple. Montresor, an Italian noble, has a grudge against his friend, Fortunato. He lures him down to the catacombs and wine cellar with the promise of a tipple of a rare wine. Fortunato is drunk. Mentresor chains him to a wall in a small enclave and then begins to brick up the enclave. Fortunato begs for his life, but to no avail.
The story is told from the point of view of the murderer, Montresor, some time later. He is revealing his dark secret, but is not especially remorseful. He feels that Fortunato got what he deserved in the end. He feels that his revenge has been satiated.
Indeed, what is perhaps most impressive is the romantic style found in Poe’s work. This immediately evokes a time and place and puts the reader or viewer on the edge of his or her seat. These days it has come to mean, dark and steam-filled cities with ornate gargoyles carved into cornices of buildings. Poe is able to create a sense of terrible foreshadowing throughout the story even though we expect what is going to happen. We feel sorry for the luckless Fortunato, but also repulsed by him. These feelings are carefully elicited by the masterful writing. The idea of single-minded revenge is clearly communicated.
One of the great things about this story is that it shows there are universal themes found in all cultures. Stories and poems bring us together and lead us to embrace our common