How does Poe use scenery to capitalize on the mystique of the heinous act in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Poe chooses a fantastic, well thought out, setting to stage this murderous short story. The story takes place the night of a huge carnival and he, fittingly so, has Montresor donned in a grim reaper costume while Fortunato is wearing a costume of a jester. Now Montresor is an unreliable narrator so he may not be believed- it all a little too perfect. Since it is the night of the carnival that Montresor chooses to go out, he makes a point to tell his untrustworthy staff he will be away all night, knowing that they will leave the house untended. Montresor lures Fortunato to his estate to taste a rare amontillado which he is conveniently storing in the catacombs (a good place to store wine, but also serves as a tomb for the family's dead). Once they are as far beneath the estate that they can reach, where no screams may be heard and Fortunato is very drunk, Montresor proceeds to bury him alive in the walls where no one uncovering a body there would be suspicious because it's like burying a body in a graveyard.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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