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Does Montresor get his revenge in "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe?

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rechip | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 8, 2012 at 6:45 PM via web

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Does Montresor get his revenge in "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe?

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holfie | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted November 8, 2012 at 7:19 PM (Answer #1)

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Hi Rechip,

Montresor does succeed in his quest to exact revenge on Fortunato.  He had felt insulted by some of Fortunato's joking and had planned a most elaborate revenge sequence.

Montresor lures Fortunato into his dark, damp wine cellar.  Montresor claims to have a cask of some famous Amontillado wine.  Fortunato is a wine lover and Montresor convinces Fortunato to come to the wine cellar to taste the wine, to see if it is truly the Amontillado.

Once there, Montresor drugs Fortunato.  Fortunato passes out for a time and awakens to find that Montresor, a mason, is in the process of building a brick wall and that he (Fortunato) is chained to the wall.  In effect, Montresor is walling in Fortunato! 

Fortunato jokes at first, but grows increasingly disturbed as the wall grows higher.  The story ends with Fortunato screaming for help as Montresor places the last brick in the wall.  Effectively, Montresor has just buried Fortunato alive!  From that perspective, I would say that yes, Montresor succeeded in his goal to exact revenge.  Surely burial while still alive constitutes a heavy dose of revenge!

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carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 8, 2012 at 7:48 PM (Answer #2)

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Montresor has been injured by Fortunato many times.  It is the insult that makes Montresor decide that Fortunato needs to die. 

THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged…

“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe details the plans of a man who has been pushed to the edge of “no return.” Montresor will inflict his revenge; and in doing so will not be punished himself.  This is a man who covers all of his bases.  He has planned everything even to the time of the murder which is during the carnival season--the madness of the time will assure that there are no witnesses.

Obviously, Montresor has studied Fortunato so that he could find his weaknesses and be able to lure him down into the catacombs.  Fortunato’s hubris will not allow him to let Montresor use Luchesi to establish the validity of the amontillado.  Although Fortunato is already drunk, the two men head for Montresor’s house and the catacombs. 

Fortunato is dressed for the carnival in a jester costume and a conical hat with bells.  Very little is known about Montresor since he is the narrator of the story.  Only the most necessary information is provided about him.

The catacombs represent a place of the dead where the tunnels hold the remains of hundreds of years of the Montresor family.  The skeletons are mixed along the walls with bottles and casks of wine.  As the two men walk along, the potassium nitrate gives an eerie moldy feeling to the room. Furthermore, the smell invades the nostrils of rotting flesh. 

Finally, the men arrive at the end of the catacombs which opens to a larger vault.  It is here that Montresor quickly shackles Fortunato to the wall.  He then begins to brick up the fourth wall to provide Fortunato with his own crypt. Unwilling to admit any remorse, Montresor does have a brief moment of regret—but then he returns to the task at hand and shoves in the final brick. The final sound from the vault is the shaking of the bells on Fortunato’s hat.

At the end of the story, the reader learns that the entire story has been a flashback. Fifty years later, Montresor explains that Fortunato’s bones have never been disturbed.  He has committed the perfect crime. Yes, Montresor achieved the vengeance that he wanted and with impunity.

 

 

 

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