The Cask of Amontillado Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

The Cask of Amontillado book cover
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How could Montresor be described as dramatic, and what are some quotes that would help prove that claim?

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In Edgar Allan Poe's short story "Cask of Amontillado" Montresor is nothing if not dramatic. His diabolical plot to kill Fortunato is worthy of any Shakespearean villain. 

From the beginning Montresor announces his plan for the man who "insulted" him with definite melodramatic flair. He says he must punish Fortunato without getting caught and he must make it clear to the victim just who his murderer is. Montresor says,

At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitely, 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.

While we know what Montresor intends to do, we are not sure how he will go about it. Poe creates suspense as Montresor dramatically lures his victim into the catacombs below his estate. Montresor is the consummate dramatic actor as he pretends concern for Fortunato's health:

"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.

Montresor plays on Fotunato's arrogance, much as the Shakespearean villain Iago exploits the same trait in Othello. Montresor tells him that he can always go to another expert to judge the Amontillado. All the while Montresor is using reverse psychology on his victim and acting as though Fortunato's opinion is of the utmost importance in evaluating the vintage spirit.

Montresor shows more of his dramatic side as he actually shows the mason's trowel to Fortunato. The trowel will be the ultimate tool in Fortunato's demise as Montresor entombs him into the walls of the catacomb.

Finally, the devious Montresor leads us to think he has some remorse when he says, "My heart grew sick..." but then extinguishes that emotion as he continues by saying, "it was the dampness of the catacombs that made it so." 




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