can you influence people when you play upon their vanity?Prove your point from the story of "the cask of amontillado  can you influence people when you play upon their vanity?Prove your point from...

can you influence people when you play upon their vanity?Prove your point from the story of "the cask of amontillado  

can you influence people when you play upon their vanity?Prove your point from the story of "the cask of amontillado


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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If people could not be influenced by manipulation of their weaknesses or by flattery, would we see what we do in the workplace as the sycophants advance over many of the truly qualified workers?

In addition to his machinations involving Fortunato's egotistical delusion of being a connosieur, Montresor victimizes Fortunato by skillfully playing upon the man's obvious jealousy of Luchesi, who is probably a true connosieur.  In no fewer than five allusions to Luchesi, Montresor lures his victim from their entry into the dark, dank crypt to the final destination where he then entombs the man:

'As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi.  If anyone has a critical turn, it is he.  He will tell me--'

Instantly, Fortunato interrupts Montresor by retorting, "Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from sherry."  Montresor capitalizes on this apparent jealousy by protesting,

'My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature.  I perceive you have an engagement.  Luchesi--'

Again he is interrupted by Fortunato.  This time Montresor feigns concern for his health:

'Come...we will go back; your health is precious.  You are a man to be missed....Besides, there is Luchesi--'

Fortunato cuts Montresor off with "Enough!" further indicating his jealousy. When Montresor leads the unsuspecting Fortunato farther into the catacombs, he continues to distract his victim with his effective ploy:

'Proceed,' I said: 'herein is the Amontillado.  As for Luchesi--'

Enraged the jealous Fortunato interrupts yet again:

'He is an ignoramus...'

Clearly, Fortunato is lured to his death by the clever machinations of his victimizer, Montesor. who manipulates Fortunato's vanity as a connosieur as well as his tremendous jealousy of another connosieur.


joe30pl eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Not an easy question, but I feel that it is possible. Using Poe's story, proving my point as it were, then yes it is possible. Montresor plays to Fortunato's opinion of himself, boasting of finding a cask of amontillado out of season. He positions himself before the man's vanity, calling him an expert. He then uses this to his advantage, as he suggest finding another expert, since Fortunato is busy at the Carnival. Montresor guiles the other man into doing his bidding by simply telling him what he wants to hear.

Now, in the real world, would a similarploy work? I can not say, save that yes, we are vain creatures. It is possible to get more flies with honey than vinegar, as the cliche goes, so it must be with people. Playing to someone's opinion of themselves can work. Telling someone that they and only they are capable of doing a job might reward you with someone else doing the work you can stand to do. It all depends on the person and the circumstance. People like to be made special, and oftentimes this can be used to your advantage. I hope this helps.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It works in this story, and it works in real life.  You've already gotten plenty of documentation here on how it worked on Fortunato, so let's look for a moment at real life.  We have terms for people who try to gain advantage by flattering or catering to the vanity of others--especially those in some superior position or authority.  I'm sure you've heard of these:  "suck-up," "brown-noser," and "teacher's pet."  There are more, but they get more crude.  In any case, you get the picture.  There are people who do this, and it clearly works in some circumstances. 

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course this is possible.  Fortunato considers himself a wine aficionado.  This vanity is catered to by Montressor who brags about the amontillado in his cellar.  Of course, the alcohol already consumed by the victim helps Montressor's case, but we can safely assume from the conceit which Fortunato exudes that he would have gone to see the amontillado sober or drunk.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Montresor finds it quite easy to trick Fortunado, but there is no real evidence that Fortunado is vain.  It certainly is easy to make that conclusion, but I think that he could just be a nice old man who is wanting to help his friend.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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