This is certainly debatable, as some readers believe that there is no evidence of guilt on Montresor’s part; however, I argue that there is evidence to support the idea that he feels guilty. When he first begins to tell the story, Montresor sounds incredibly determined and resolute. He seems to feel confident that his adversary, Fortunato, absolutely deserves to face utter destruction, or, as Montresor puts it, “immolation.” Throughout the story, Fortunato’s proud, imperious behavior invites further contempt from Montresor.
However, in the end, when Fortunato has, pathetically, realized what fate is to befall him, Montresor reports, “My heart grew sick—on account of the dampness of the catacombs.” He is quick to blame the feeling he experiences on the “dampness” which has not, thus far, bothered him at all. Further, dampness does not seem to account for making his heart feel sick. It does not seem to be a physical feeling he describes but, rather, an emotional one, indicating that he might be having some misgivings about the murder.
Further, Montresor reports that he “struggled with [the] weight” of the final stone to be “fitted and plastered in” position, but, again, the weight of the previous bricks has caused him no trouble. This could suggest that his conscience is what burdens him rather than the physical weight of the stone.
Finally, one could argue that Montresor has gotten away with his revenge and that he has achieved impunity, as he was never punished by society for what he has done. So, why on earth would he tell someone about it now, some “half of a century” after he committed the act? I argue that he is on his deathbed, confessing to a priest because he needs to unburden himself before he dies.
In the story’s first paragraph, he addresses his listener, saying that this person is one “who so well know[s] the nature of [Montresor’s] soul.” This description would certainly befit a man of the cloth who is used to hearing Montresor’s confessions. Montresor reveals, also, that it has been fifty years since he killed Fortunato, making Montresor a very old man, assuming he was in his twenties or thirties when the events of the story take place. For all these reasons, one can argue that Montresor does feel guilty.