There is enough evidence to suggest that Montresor is certainly an unreliable narrator in Poe's classic short story "The Cask of Amontillado ." In the opening paragraph of the short story, Montresor states that Fortunato had caused him a "thousand injuries" and "ventured upon insult," which apparently justify his...
There is enough evidence to suggest that Montresor is certainly an unreliable narrator in Poe's classic short story "The Cask of Amontillado." In the opening paragraph of the short story, Montresor states that Fortunato had caused him a "thousand injuries" and "ventured upon insult," which apparently justify his motivation for seeking revenge. Montresor's reason for committing a horrific murder is vague, obscure, and ambiguous. He provides no solid evidence to support his decision, which is unsettling and problematic. If one were to even contemplate burying another person alive, there should certainly be legitimate evidence to even justify the thought of taking that person's life. However, Montresor simply glosses over Fortunato's "injuries" and assumes that his actions are warranted.
In addition to Montresor's vague reasoning for seeking revenge on Fortunato, the fact that Montresor commits murder is further evidence of his unreliability. One could argue that a sane, rational person would never bury another individual alive. Plotting and executing such a horrific crime suggests a degree of mental illness and instability. Another example of Montresor's unreliability takes place at the end of the story. Montresor thrusts his torch in the remaining aperture in the wall and lets it fall in hopes of getting a rise out of his enemy. However, Fortunato does not reply and all Montresor can hear is the jingling of bells. Montresor then mentions,
"My heart grew sick—on account of the dampness of the catacombs" (Poe, 10).
This statement is further evidence to suggest that Montresor is an unreliable narrator. The audience recognizes that his heart "grew sick" as a result of his guilty conscience and tortured soul. Somewhere in Montresor's heart, he regrets his actions and pities his enemy. However, Montresor would have the reader believe that the dampness of the catacombs was the reason his heart grew sick, which is an obvious lie. Overall, one could argue that Montresor is an unreliable narrator because he refuses to give specific reasons to justify his actions, commits a horrific crime, and attempts to conceal his true feelings regarding Fortunato's murder.