Montresor entices Fortunato to accompany him on the pretext of desiring that Fortunato taste and confirm the quality of his Amontillado, dry sherry in a new cask he has recently purchased. He manipulates Fortunato by playing upon his professional rivalry with Luchesi.
Montresor has planned his revenge against Fortunato for "[T]he thousand injuries" that he has suffered. He has decided that he will lure Fortunato into the Montresor family vaults on the pretext of having him taste some Amontillado in order to confirm for him that it is truly dry and thus of especially high quality. He tells Fortunato:
"I have my doubts...and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain."
Then, Montresor plays upon Fortunato's rivalry with Luchesi:
"If you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If anyone has a critical turn, it is he. He will tell me—"
"Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from sherry." [says Fortunato]
"And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own."
This remark about his rival arouses Fortunato's desire to be the first to taste the Amontillado. Therefore, he urges Montresor to take him to the vaults so that he can boast of being the connoisseur who has first verified the quality of the Amontillado. Montresor, who previously dismissed all his servants to eliminate any risk of his actions being witnessed, then leads the unsteady Fortunato into the damp, niter-filled rooms. As they go deeper into the catacombs, the devious Montresor feigns concern for his "friend." In this way, Montresor follows his plan of revenge in which he can "punish with impunity."