In Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Cask of Amontillado, how did Montresor ensure that no servants would be in the house to witness the crime?
In Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Cask of Amontillado, Montresor ensures complete privacy in his home by tricking his servants into believing that it would be safe for them to sneak away. He does this in a way that illuminates his duplicitous nature, cynically exploiting their own fundamental dishonesty and disloyalty. In the operative passage from Poe's story, Montresor describes the manner in which he guaranteed that there would be no witnesses to the act of murder he had planned:
"There were no attendants at home; they had absconded to make merry in honor of the time. I had told them that I should not return until the morning, and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned."
Montresor's plan, of course, is successful. The household staff has departed, believing that its employer was gone for the night. The staff's departure has left the house empty, allowing Montresor to bring home the inebriated Fortunato and to lead the hapless victim into the cellar where death awaits. It is both Montresor's and his servants' cynical nature that allows for him to be successful in his plot to murder Fortunato, who has repeatedly insulted him, thereby incurring his wrath.