illustration of Fortunato standing in motley behind a mostly completed brick wall with a skull superimposed on the wall where his face should be

The Cask of Amontillado

by Edgar Allan Poe

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," what kind of guy is Fortunato? How does Montresor manipulate Fortunato? What CHARACTER TRAITS make Fortunato easy prey for Montresor?

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In "The Cask of Amontillado" the focus falls upon two characters, that of Montressor and Fortunato. Montresor has sworn revenge on Fortunato and to "not only punish, but punish with impunity". Fortunato is characterized as being very vain. Montresor then uses this weakness to his advantage to fulfill his motives of revenge. "He had a weak point -  this Fortunato - . . . he prided himself upon his connoisseurship in wine." Montresor uses this to his advantage by appealing to his vanity and enticing him through the appeal of using his expertise in wine tasting. He lures Fortunato to his vaults and, ultimately, to his demise. He tauntingly uses the other unseen character Luchesi, to bait Fortunato on by comparing their ability in the realm of wine tasting. This strikes Fortunato's vanity and encourages him to continue to prove that he is the real expert. Another trait that makes Fortunato so easily preyed upon is his trusting belief that Montresor has no ill will toward him. Montresor states that "neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will." Therefore, Fortunato remains trusting and self-centered in his desire to prove his commitment to the Amontillado.

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