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What does Fortunato's hand movement mean in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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user4854554 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 8, 2013 at 5:24 PM via web

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What does Fortunato's hand movement mean in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 8, 2013 at 7:13 PM (Answer #1)

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Fortunado makes a hand gesture that is a secret signal of the Brotherhood of Masons.

Montresor seems to think that Fortunado has wronged him, so he brings him deep into the catacombs.  Fortunado makes a gesture at one point, while he is drunk, and then asks Montresor if he is one of the Masons.

He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand.

Fortunado then asks for further proof.  Since Montresor is pretending to be a Mason, he wants him to make a hand signal as well. 

“You? Impossible! A mason?”

“A mason,” I replied.

“A sign,” he said, “a sign.”

Since Montresor does not know the sign, did not recognize it, and can’t make it, he brings out his trowel and said this is a sign.  Fortunado thinks it is funny, a jest that is a play on the word “mason.”  He is too drunk to wonder why his friend has a trowel in the first place.  Of course, Montresor plans to use it to brick his friend up, burying him alive in the catacombs.

 

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