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How did the narrator manipulate Fortunato through flattery in "The Cask of...

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woodya123 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:42 PM via web

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How did the narrator manipulate Fortunato through flattery in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:21 PM (Answer #1)

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Despite the obvious hate and contempt that Montresor held for Fortunato, he knew that by appealing to his vanity he would be able to coerce him into the catacombs (that doubled as a wine cellar). Montresor first made Fortunato feel at ease by feigning friendship: With a "smile on his face," Montresor complimented his enemy on "How remarkably well you are looking to-day." He then immediately launched into his story about the rare vintage of Amontillado, knowing that in Fortunator's drunken state--and recognizing that Fortunato could not possibly pass up the chance to sample a free bottle--he would faithfully follow Montresor anywhere. Montresor appeals to Fortunato's own sense of expertise on the subject, choosing him before seeking out Luchesi. Montresor compliments Fortunato even further as they descend into the catacombs.

     “Come,” I said, with decision, “we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi--"

Montresor knows that Fortunato cannot let this opportunity pass, yet he is careful to to let Fortunato make the decision on his own, rather than appear to be too anxious to steal him away. Montresor pacifies Fortunato with several more bottles--of a Medoc and a De Grave--as they move onward, further intoxicating him while at the same time toasting to his health.

     “I drink,” he said, “to the buried that repose around us.”
     “And I to your long life.”
     He again took my arm, and we proceeded.

One last time, Montresor "implores" Fortunato "to return," but it is too late for Fortunato: His own vanity, inebriation and love of the bottle has clouded his judgement--just as Montresor knew it would.

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