Describe Fortunato's Character

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

Fortunato is a bon viveur, a man who likes good wine and good company. He's also something of a fool, and this quality of his, combined with his love of wine, leads to his grisly death.

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Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado " comes across as a fun guy to be with, someone most people would definitely invite to a party. A lover of good wine and good company, and with an enhanced sense of fun, Fortunato is the kind of guy that people instinctively...

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Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado" comes across as a fun guy to be with, someone most people would definitely invite to a party. A lover of good wine and good company, and with an enhanced sense of fun, Fortunato is the kind of guy that people instinctively like to be around, even if he does give the impression that he's a bit of a fool.

If we believe Montresor, however, then there's a much more unpleasant side to Fortunato. According to Montresor, Fortunato has done him a "thousand injuries." He doesn't specify exactly what these alleged injuries are supposed to have been, but they must be serious if they've incited Montresor to kill Fortunato in such a horrible way, by walling him up alive in the catacombs.

Montresor plays upon those aspects of Fortunato's character that Fortunato presents to the world in order to get him down to the catacombs, which will be his final resting place. Montresor knows that Fortunato, as a bon viveur, will not be able to resist a drop of three of the finest Amontillado wine. He also knows that Fortunato is a bit of a fool and so can quite easily be tricked into walking straight into a deadly trap.

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Fortunato is portrayed as a popular, outgoing Italian man who is an epicure and views himself as a connoisseur of fine wine. Fortunato is also a wealthy man and purchases large quantities of expensive wine when the opportunity presents itself, which is revealed by his desire to taste and confirm Montresor's Amontillado. Judging by his jester costume and intoxicated condition, Fortunato is a fun-loving, carefree man. When Montresor approaches him, Fortunato accosts him with "excessive warmth." His behavior suggests he is a friendly, amicable individual. However, Montresor's accusation of suffering a "thousand injuries" at the hands of Fortunato portrays Fortunato in a negative light. It is important to note that Montresor is an unreliable narrator and that the audience should not take his word at face value. That being said, it's possible that Fortunato has indeed done something awful to motivate Montresor to take his life.

Montresor also mentions that Fortunato is a "man to be respected and even feared" and calls him "rich, respected, admired, beloved." Clearly, Fortunato is a successful, well-known man in the city. Despite his positive reputation and upper-class status, Fortunato is extremely vain and easily deceived. Montresor knows exactly how to get under his skin and brings up Luchesi several times. Fortunato scoffs at the mention of Luchesi's name and calls the man an "ignoramus." Fortunato's insult reveals his slanderous nature and suggests that Montresor's complaints about Fortunato may have some validity. The fact that Fortunato is unaware of Montresor's malevolent intentions and does not recognize that he is in immediate danger depicts him as a fool, which is emphasized by his jester costume.

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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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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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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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