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Please help me write a short paragraph interpreting this quotation."At length I would...

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joyalane | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:10 PM via web

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Please help me write a short paragraph interpreting this quotation.

"At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitively settled-but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved, preclued the idea of rick. I must not olly punish, but punish with impunity."

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:17 PM (Answer #1)

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To me, this is saying that Montresor is not just blindly angry.  He is not going to go and get his revenge without thinking.  This tells us that he is a cool and calculating man, not some passionate hot head.

What Montresor is saying in this passage is that he wants his revenge, but he wants to take revenge carefully.  He wants to make sure that there is no risk to him.  He wants "impunity," which means that he wants to take revenge and get away with it.  He does not want to kill Fortunato and then be executed or jailed himself.

As I said, this shows me that Montresor is a very calculating man who takes revenge on Fortunato in cold blood.  We will see this throughout the story as we notice how little emotion Montresor shows as he tells us how he killed Fortunato.

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lfawley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:25 PM (Answer #2)

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This also shows that Montressor is patient. If he were a serial killer or murderer being profiled today, he would fall in the category of the organized killer. This act of revenge is not simply blind justice; he is not killing in the heat of the moment or in response to a brief moment of out of control anger. He has planned this, and for his revenge to work it must not only end in murder but a slow death for Fortunado during which time he has the chance to come to understand why he is being punished. It is not enough for Montressor that Fortunado dies. Fortunado must understand what it is that he has done and must experience pain and fear, emotional and mental anguish, to balance what Montressor feels has been done to him.

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lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:52 PM (Answer #3)

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Montresor begins by telling us that Fortunato had "injured" him, that is, hurt him a "thousand" times, and that he was magnanimous enough to overlook them:

The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could,

but when Fortunato added insult to injury, Montresor decided to take his revenge by killing him:

but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.

But from what he confesses to us we get an insight into into his real character: He is a determined person who will  extract the most from his act of revenge by making Fortunato experience the same pain and humiliation that he had experienced. Montresor is a shrewd and scheming person who  will secretly and silently carry out his revenge without arousing any one's suspicion, because as he tells us revenge is revenge only if he escapes unpunished:

AT LENGTH I would be avenged; this was a point definitively settled -- but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.

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