Describe Fortunato's character in "The Cask of Amontillado."

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billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Fortunato appears to be an extreme extrovert. He likes to get drunk. He has a lot of money and evidently enjoys spending it on his own enjoyment. He is wearing a jester's costume when Montresor encounters him on the street. People generally choose costumes that represent what they think of themselves, how they would like others to perceive them, and/or what they would like to be. Fortunato would like to be thought of as a very funny fellow, but if he has really injured Montresor a thousand times, then he is the kind of "funny fellow" who likes to inflict pain. The court jesters of old were often cruel in their jests because they had the protection of a powerful patron. The grave digger in Hamlet says that Yorick, the king's jester, poured a bottle of wine over his head one time. That may have amused the king and his guests, but the victim would not have been amused. King Lear's fool is constantly saying hurtful truths to Lear and to others. Many of the "injuries" Montresor suffered from Fortunato may have been painful digs that hurt his pride. Montresor describes Fortunato as "a man to be respected and even feared."

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brendawm | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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All we know of Fortunato we learn through the very biased narrator, Montresor; therefore, everything must be taken in terms of the source from which it is learned.  We know that Fortunato is Italian and a lover and connoisseur of fine wine, which Montresor uses to lure him into the catacombs and the trap he has laid.  Fortunato is also referred to as a respected and feared man, which may lead the reader to the conclusion that the wrongs done to Montresor may have resulted from this power.  Little else is known of Fortunato, as there is little else that Montresor deems important to share with the reader.

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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According to our unreliable narrator Montressor, Fortunato is a man who has inflicted, "a thousand injuries" upon him. Montressor never tells us exactly what he feel these injuries were, only that Montressor is trying to cope with it. Fortunato seems friendly because he believes that he and Montressor are friends. We also get the sense that he is comical and likes to party because he dresses up like a jester which is in stark contrast to Montressor who dresses like death to mark the occasion of his "perfect murder". Fortunato is also, as Montressor admits to us, a real connoisseur of wine. Fortunato is arrogant about his wine tasting abilities, which is what leads him into the snare that kills him (if Montressor is telling the truth about the incident). It seems that Fortunato truly has no idea what he has done because he is absolutely shocked when he realizes what is happening.

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