How does Montresor manipulate Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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chelseaosborne314 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Cask of Amontillado, Montresor uses Fortunato's own pride against him. Montresor knows that Fortunato prides himself on being knowledgeable about wine, so he comes up with the right kind of bait to trap such a man. First, Montresor mentions that he purchased a cask of what the sellers claimed to be Amontillado, but he was not so sure; he says that he should have asked Fortunato before making the purchase, but he feared losing the deal. Not only does this peak Fortunato's interest (as it is apparently unusual to be able to acquire an entire cask of Amontillado at that time of year), but it starts the inflation of Fortunato's ego. After saying that he should have consulted Fortunato, he immediately takes the opportunity away by saying that he is going to go ask another man, Luchesi, about it instead, thus taunting Fortunato with what could have been. Fortunato rises to the taunts, however, and claims that Luchesi is not as good as he is, so Montresor should forget Luchesi and let him test it out instead. Montresor declines, saying that he does not wish to interrupt Fortunato's partying, and this false refusal only makes Fortunato argue for it even more. Even once they are down in Montresor's vaults, he tries to convince Fortunato to leave, making Fortunato repeatedly say that he wants to stay. Thus, Montresor makes Fortunato believe that it was his own idea to help out Montresor with the Amontillado, when in fact, it was what Montresor wanted all along.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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