Montressor manipulates Fortunato throughout "The Cask of Amontillado," and he proves to be a master at this game. Even before Montressor meets up with Fortunato, he has already determined a sure way to rid himself of his servants--and possible witnesses--on the night of the murder. He notifies them that he will be gone for the evening--a deliberate lie--and he knows that they will not fail to capitalize on his supposed absence during the carnival. Montressor knew that each and every one of them would leave their work early and join the revelry--leaving the house and property deserted except for Montressor and Fortunato.
For the most part,"The Cask of Amontillado" involves only two characters: Montresor, who vows to be avenged for "the thousand injuries of Fortunato" and his victim, Fortunato, who fancies himself a connossieur of wines. In his elaborate plan to lure Fortunato into his family catacombs in order to murder him, Montresor devises methods of luring, or manipulating, Fortunato:
- Montresor tells Fortunato that he has recently acquired a "pipe" of the Amontillado wine, but he has his "doubts." When Fortunato hesitates to judge it for Montresor, Montresor says that he is on his way to Luchesi: "If anyone has a critical turn, it is he. He will tell me---" Hearing the name of Luchesi, Fortunato becomes jealous: "Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from sherry." Montresor continues to play upon this professional jealousy by telling Fortunato that he sees that Fortunato has "an engagement," but Luchesi maybe can come. Enraged, Fortunato declares, "I have no engagement--come." They proceed.
- As they approach the catacombs of the Montresors, Fortunato staggers some while Montresor points out the niter and remarks that Fortunato has a bad cough and they should not proceed: "You are a man to be missed....Besides, there is Luchesi--" Again, this touches the nerve of professional jealousy in Fortunato: "Enough,...the cough is a mere nothing," Fortunato protests. And they proceed.
- After giving the already drunk Fortunato more wine, Montresor lures him farther and farther into the catacombs. In vain Fortunato tries to see into the depths, but Montresor manipulates him yet again by saying "Proceed,...herein is the Amontillado. As for Luchesi--"
"He is an ignoramus," interrupts the drunk and still jealous Fortunato who desires to be the first to judge the Amontillado.
As Fortunato exclaims, "The Amontillado!" Montresor begins to wall up the opening to the niche and wreak his vengeance that he has so long planned.