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In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," why would the Montresor repeat that he...

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Bosco710 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:26 AM via web

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In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," why would the Montresor repeat that he "has his doubts" about the Amontillado he purchased?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:41 AM (Answer #1)

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Montresor, the protagonist of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," is seeking revenge against Fortunado for the "thousand injuries" he placed upon Monstrsor. As part of his plan for revenge, Montresor must get Fortunato into the catacombs beneath his family's home. 

In order to do this, Montresor tells Fortunato that he possesses a cask of Amontillado. Since Amontillado is very had to come by, Montresor is able to use his concern regarding the authenticity of the wine. By repeatedly questioning the authenticity, Montresor is able to keep Fortunato's interest in it peaked. The more Montersor questions the authenticity, the more Fortunato wishes to test the wine. This is essential to getting Fortunato into the catacombs so that Montersor can see his plan of revenge through. 


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William Delaney | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 21, 2013 at 7:20 PM (Answer #2)

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Montresor tells Fortunato that he has bought a pipe of what has been represented as Amontillado but he has doubts about its authenticity and is seeking an expert opinion, either that of Fortunato or of Luchesi. Montresor has already bought and paid for the wine, yet he appears to be in a big hurry to find out whether it is genuine. Why? He mentions that he bought it hurriedly because it was a bargain. Obviously what he is trying to convey by his story and his apparent haste to get a verification is that he would buy more if only he could be sure it is genuine Amontillado. Since he already owns 126 gallons in the first pipe, he obviously does not want the wine for personal consumption but for resale at a profit. One attractive feature of wine such as Amontillado Sherry in an oak cask is that it will only improve with age. He could take his time about bottling and selling the wine (assuming he really had it at all), and possibly charge more as the wine aged. Montresor is a poor man and might only be able to buy a few more pipes--but Fortunato is a rich man and could buy the entire cargo, thereby getting an even better bargain.

It is the bargain price that interests Fortunato--and Montresor knows it. Fortunato is not the type of man who would go out of his way to sample the wine just to help a friend. He is not anxious to travel a long distance on foot and then creep through underground passages just to drink a glass of Amontillado, however delicious. He is not all that anxious to show off his "virtuosity" as a wine connoisseur. He visualizes a ship from Barcelona loaded with casks of Amontillado available at a bargain price. He thinks only Montresor knows about this bargain right now, but once word gets around there will be more buyers driving the price up. Fortunato especially does not want Montresor to go to Luchesi, because Luchesi knows wine and probably has the money to buy up the entire cargo himself. That is the only reason Fortunato goes to Montresor's palazzo. Otherwise, he could find the ship by himself, sample the wine on board, and deal with the seller directly. Montresor knows that Fortunato has no intention of helping him because he knows his man. He has been injured by him a thousand times already. He knows that Fortunato would-- (if the wine really existed)--take a sip, frown, take another sip, shake his head, and pronounce it ordinary Sherry. This would eliminate Montresor as a competitive bidder for the remaining Amontillado aboard the Spanish ship. Montresor knows that his fictitious Amontillado is genuine because he invented it, but he also knows that Fortunato would consider it an "excellent jest" to judge it as ordinary Sherry and then buy the remaining cargo out from under Montresor. Fortunato, without even tasting the wine, has told Montresor, "You have been imposed upon," thereby preparing him for disappointment.

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