How did Montresor know that the house would be empty in "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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"The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe is told from the first person point of view of the villain, Montresor. It appears to be written in the form of a confession, with the "you" being addressed perhaps a priest administering last rites. 

Montresor own the palazzo in question and apparently lives alone there except for his servants. He deliberately chose the night of the Carnival for his plot. He tells his servants that he will be gone all night at the Carnival and orders them to stay in the house and look after it, knowing that the desire of the servants to get out and attend the Carnival will cause them to disobey his orders to remain at the house. This is especially clever, because if the servants are called upon to testify in court, they will lie and say they were at the house in order to avoid getting in trouble with their master

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