The Cask of Amontillado
- We are not told how Fortunate insulted Montresor. Would the story be more effective if we knew? Explain.
Edgar Poe does not provide any clues as to how Fortunato insulted Montessor. This omission is useful in developing the plot of the story. Poe’s goal was to create a unity of effect in the story. Therefore, the omission is valid because it creates the plot of the story. It also triggers critical thinking as to the nature of the insult and the degree of Montresor’s desire to revenge. One cannot help it but wonder what made Montressor so evil that he killed a fellow man with impunity in the heart of a carnival, which is often associated with happiness. The omission also helps highlight the evil and unforgiving nature of Montresor and heightens the mystery of the story.
- Are there any clues that suggest when and to whom Montresor tells his tale? Explain.
Montresor narrates this tale fifty years after it had happened. He could be talking to one of his descendants. This is because in the first paragraph, he says, “you, who so well know the nature of my soul,” which implies that the person he is talking to knows him well enough to know what makes him angry to the point of revenge. The person also knows the Montresor family motto “emo me impune lacessit”, which means “no one provokes me with impunity”. A person with such knowledge of Montresor and his family motto could only be his descendant. Montresoir might also be passing the information of the catacombs contents to the nest descendant that will succeed him as the family head when he dies.
- How is Montresor able to lure Fortunato into the catacombs?
Montressor uses flattery, reverse psychology, and deceit to lure Fortunado into the catacombs.Fortunato is a man of considerable tastes and believes he is an expert in wine. Therefore, Montresor flatters him by asking his advice on a newly acquired cask on Amontillado, yet he knows very well he does not possess the amontillado. He also deceives Fortunado that he is going to seek Luchesi’s advice who is Fotunato’s rival as a wine expert, which makes Fortunatos’ resolve to taste the Cask of Amontillado stronger. Fortunato believes he is the best wine taster in the land. Montresor also pretends to care for Fortunato’s health to make Fortunato trust him.
- Describe the qualities that Montresor insists on as the characteristics of a successful vengeance.
Montresor insists that a successful vengeance has no consequences for the perpetrator. The perpetrator must execute the revenge without leaving any evidence that will haunt him or her. Moreover, the perpetrator of the revenge must never get caught.