The Cask of Amontillado, by Edgar Allan Poe, is a stroke of literary brilliance. Without ever telling the audience what insults were so bad as to influence the narrator to commit murder, Poe crafts a story of secret revenge. Throughout the entire story the narrator foreshadows his murderous intentions to Fortunato, but suspecting nothing, Fortunato continues talking with the narrator about wine. Fortunato is oblivious until the very last moment of the story.
Fortunato had made some sort of insults to the narrator and he wanted revenge, so he lured Fortunato into his wine vault promising Amontillado. That is one motive for the narrator’s murderous plot but I think there was also a dual motive. The narrator subtly warns Fortunato to turn back because his health is precious and goes on to say that he is rich, respected, admired, beloved, happy and a man to be missed, as the narrator once was. The narrator was jealous of Fortunato’s life. Poe crafts this into the story through Fortunato’s name, an Italian word meaning fortunate, blessed, and happy.
In the same way Poe uses the name of the narrator, Montresor, to create irony. Montresor is a combination of the words montrer (to show) and sort (fate). The name Montresor is significant because the narrator clearly shows Fortunato his fate through foreshadowing and with revealing the murder weapon, a trowel to build a wall that will bury him.
While Poe makes effective use of Irony in the Cask of Amontillado, Gabriel Garcia Marquez uses clever satire in A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings. Marquez essentially mocks religion, specifically the Roman Catholic Church, and also human nature. He ridicules Roman Catholics through the elder’s ridiculous questions about the “angel”. He makes fun of Jesus when all the diseased people come to the angel to be healed and are made hideous instead.
Marquez mocks human nature as being fickle beings, when one attraction is no longer interesting they move on to the next best thing forgetting the last. He does this through the spider-like woman coming to the village and everyone who was paying attention to the “angel” moves on to her, because she talks and answers their questions, and is generally more interesting. The author envisions the human race as narrow minded fools that cannot see the broader significance of life.
In addition to satire, Marquez champions magical realism in this short story. He is not as subtle as some authors in introducing the magical aspect but still causes the reader to wonder whether the angel really is an angel or just a man with wings. He mixes the reality of a homely couple killing crabs with the supernatural, making the reader wonder if the angel could actually be real. By using magical realism dealing with a supernatural being and mocking religion and human nature, I think the author is also questioning the reality of the supernatural. Marquez shows his disbelief by a title caption “ A story for children” meaning belief in such things are childish.