To begin with, there has been a claim from critics that “The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg" was inspired by, "The Cask of Amontillado”. In this sense, the validity or invalidity of the statement remains to be a theory not proved. Therefore, the main aim of this paper is to explain the validity (or invalidity) of this argument drawing specific connections (or lack thereof) from the given readings of “The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg" and “The Cask of Amontillado”.
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So to speak, “The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg” is a story narrated by Taiwan Mark regarding Hadleyburg town and a stranger who happened to visit once. This is pictured as the most incorruptible and morally upright town in the region. Actually, for three generations, the town’s status was beyond reproach and in fact residents were very proud of it. More to this point, it restrained from all occurrences of temptation such as would distort the city’s reputation. Basically, from childhood, people were taught to be honest. However, its neighbors envied and mocked it. Unfortunately, at some point in time, one of the residents insulted a stranger. As a result, the stranger sought vengeance of which he indented to corrupt the town which was thought of being free of corruption (Taiwan, 2010, p.1).
Following the above point, the insult happened when the stranger passed by Hadleybug, the famous and “perfect” town where he spend a night in one of its members. According to Taiwan (2010), the stranger was hungry and did not have any money but he feared to beg. Even though the person helped the stranger with $20 000 as he had no money, he made a remark that insulted the stranger. The remark stated that “Go and reform-or mark my words-someday, for your sins you will die and go to hell or Hadleyburg-try and make it the former” (Taiwan, 2010, p.4). The stranger was bitter about the remark and for more than a year sought for the best way to revenge. Following this, he made several plans until one time when he thought that he had got the perfect plan for revenge.
Besides good deeds and service that were given to the stranger who finally corrupted Hadleybug, he was obsessed by the spirit of revenge. Furthermore, it was until he successfully revenged for the insult that he felt relieved in his soul. However, in return to the favor done to him by the man, he decided to give out a sack of gold worth $40 000. This was to be given to the person that helped him with a life changing advice as he states. Unfortunately, he exclaimed that he could not remember the person who showed him kindness. This he did during the night and it was intended to tempt the residents and make them dishonest people against the town’s claim of good reputation.
Consequently, the exercise of the stranger subjected the entire town to a multifaceted joke that eventually led to the devastation of Hadleybug’s reputation for honesty. No one could have suspected his ill moves for he claimed that he was repaying kindness that was shown to him by a citizen of Hadleybug. The information was made public and even neighbors to Hadleybug town were informed of the same.
On the other hand, the Cask of Amontillado is a tale reported by the narrator, Montresor, who took a fatal revenge on his friend. They were friends for quite some time and his friend really loved wine which he finally used as bait for him. However, the narrator claims that his friend, Fortunato, had wounded him many times. Besides this point, Fortunato added insult on an injury by insulting the narrator. Though the narrator doesn’t state the insult done on him, he decided to revenge on his friend. Following this point, the narrator lured his friend, Fortunato by telling him that he had received a pipe of Amontillado. This was an uncommon and expensive sherry wine, and Montresor sought approval of the same from his friend who prided himself in wine. The narrator smiled sarcastically at his friend who was suffering from common cold and had some chest problems. Following this, he pretended to be more concerned about the health of his friend, Fortunato. However, Montresor wanted to trick his friend who trusted him and never imagined that he could betray him one day. (Poe, 2010 p.1)
In light of the above matter, they meandered through the catacombs whereby, Montresor offered his friend some wine. They finally came to a niche where Montresor claimed the Amontillado was. He encouraged his friend to go further in the midst of skeleton walls where he tied him on the walls (Poe, 2010, p.1). Interesting enough, the narrator never had pity on his sick friend and in fact he was not sorry about it along with the fact that he was not discovered.
Having made a provision of the overview of the two stories, it is arguable that the spirit that led Montresor to kill his friend motivated the man that corrupted Hadleybug town. In the light of this, both cases suffered from the effects of insults and as such both were motivated to take on revenge. Supposedly, both instances took place in the same society by people obsessed by similar spirits. At the same time, Montresor used deception to lure his friend with the stranger in the “The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg” using the same deception to corrupt the whole town who proved to be otherwise dishonest. Given to this point, it seems that insult was the worst evil that one could ever do to another and therefore it was highly punishable. In consistence with this, the theme of insult and revenge is evident in both cases.
Therefore, it is precise to affirm the critics’ claims that; "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg" was inspired by, "The Cask of Amontillado”. Similarly, both instances took place during the night and for both, the avengers were overtaken by bitterness of the insults done to them. Moreover, they never valued the good deeds done to them by their friends at the time of their desperation. To them, the insult outweighed any good deed. Needless to state, cases address the theme of guilty and punishment along with betrayal of relationships that were once trusted. In the “The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg", the stranger betrayed the trust of the man he spent time with in his place. On the other hand, “The Cask of Amontillado”, the narrator betrayed Fortunato by deceiving him, therefore in both cases deception was also pointed out.
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