In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montressor's family motto relate to the way Montressor treats Fortunato?Montresor's family motto translates as "Nobody provokes me and gets away with it." I...

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montressor's family motto relate to the way Montressor treats Fortunato?

Montresor's family motto translates as "Nobody provokes me and gets away with it." I need help explaining how this motto relates to the way Montresor treats Fortunato.

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Cask of Amontillado," referring to a wine, Montresor has received offenses and an insult from Fortunato. It is the insult that determines Montresor on revenge. The Latin language family motto of "Nemo me impune lacessit" is loosely translated to English as "No one I leave unpunished who harasses me."

Fortunato apparently did "harass" Montressor. It may have related to the fraternal organization of Freemasons (Masons), as the gesture Fortunato makes is unknown to Montresor and Fortunado makes a big issue of denying that Montresor might himself be a Freemason.

Whatever the cause and issue of the "insult" given to Montresor by Fortunato, Montresor honors his family motto and punishes Fortunato for "harassing" him, and he does it in such a way that Fortunato knows that Montresor is acting as an avenger--though it is not clear that Fortunato knows preciesly what Montresor is punishing and avenging.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In order to find the answer to this, just think about what Montresor does to Fortunato.  After all, he takes Fortunato down to his wine cellar and walls him up so that he will slowly die from a lack of water.  That's pretty horrible.

We have no idea what Fortunato has done to make Montresor angry, but it can't be anything too big.  If it had been, Fortunato would have known Montresor hated him.

So, Fortunato has not really done anything terrible to Montresor.  Even so, Montresor kills him in a terrible. way.  In this way, Montresor bring the motto to life.

spitxlexx | Student

The Cask of Amontillado is a story about how Montresor avenged his anger at Fortunato. His family motto contributes a lot to the whole of the story.

"Nobody provokes me with impunity", or simply, "Nobody insults me without punishment". This is motto reflects on Montresor's character in the story.

Montresor's anger towards Fortunato is not only based on a one time happening, he saved up a lot of things that Fortunato did that provoked his anger. Motresor was like a jar, slowly filling up with anguish and when that anguish overflowed, he decided to take action for his revenge.

In the beginning of the story, Motresor described his fleeting anger, his undefined emotion, his wish to be an avenger. He slowly created a plan on somewhat called a perfect crime. Having this "crime" planned, he proceeded to do it. He treated Fortunato with irony. We all know what he's planning yet he used sweet words to lure Fortunato into the catacombs. He devised a plan to send Fortunato to death. This treatment is vastly related to his family motto. Never being silenced when punishment was not done to those people who trespassed them.

Read the study guide:
The Cask of Amontillado

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