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The contrast in the two settings is part of Poe's talent in creating an eerie mood. The time was carnival, a festive occasion involving much food, drink, and merriment. From the lights and cheer of the square, Montresor and Fortunado proceed to an area below the basement, the catacombs, or burial crypt, of the Montresor family in search of an elusive cask of rare wine. Darkness, damp, hanging spider webs and nitre on the walls make for a spooky setting. Only a flambeau or torch lit their way, casting weird shadows in an already eerie place. A separate niche in the wall decorated with metal shackles and building materials at hand would have warned a sober person. But at this time of year, sobriety was not the norm. Fortunado would meet his doom in a most uncomfortable, macabre setting.
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