CASK OF AMONTILLADO
Edgar Allen Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado is a story of fear and revenge. The dark
side of human nature is exemplified through the character of Montressor and his victim,
Fortunato. The story begins with Montressor’s vow of revenge. This is proven in the first sentence when Montressor says, “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.” Montressor is a manipulative and vengeful person. These characteristics lead to the death of Fortunato. Through the words, acts, and thoughts of Montressor, one is able to see him carry out his plan for revenge.
Montressor had to be sure not to raise suspicion of what he was going to do to
Fortunato. The story takes place at a carnival in Italy where Montressor and Fortunato
appear to come upon each other by chance. The setting moves to the catacombs of
Montressor’s home. It is a place of doom where skeletons lie against damp walls covered
in nitre. Montressor dons a “mask of black silk” and a heavy knee length cloak.
Montressor’s clothes seem to indicate his wanting to conceal himself so he can carry out
his devious plan. Fortunato is very drunk and dressed like a jester. Fortunato’s clothing seems to indicate his trusting but foolish nature. However, Montressor’s true character is alos indicated by his words. From the start of the story his vengeful nature sets the tone for the acts that will follow.
Montressor had to make sure that “there were no attendants at home.” Montressor
tells the reader, “They had absconded to make merry in honor of the time. I had told them that I should not return until the morning, and had given explicit orders not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned.” Montressor knew that by telling his servants that he would be gone until the morning that they would go to the carnival whether he had told them to stay home or not.
One of the first things that Montressor narrates to the reader is that he “….must not
only punish but punish with impunity.” Montressor is manipulative, as he tells Fortunato
that he will have someone else taste the Amontillado, knowing that by doing this Fortunato will feel compelled to taste the wine himself. “As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchresi. If anyone has a critical turn I is he. He will tell me…” In addition to being manipulative and vengeful, Montressor also displays condescending traits. ...