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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What is Montresor's plan for revenge as outlined in the opening paragraph of "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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Initially, Montresor comments that in order to successfully carry out revenge one must "not only punish but punish with impunity." He begins by maintaining an affable relationship with Fortunato by continually smiling during their conversations, which allows him to hide his true malevolent feelings. Montresor puts his plan into action after running into a rather intoxicated Fortunato during the "supreme madness of the carnival season." Knowing that Fortunato considers himself to be a connoisseur of wine and is an arrogant man, Montresor cleverly baits Fortunato by telling him that he has a pipe of Amontillado and that he plans on asking Luchresi to verify its authenticity. Montresor knows that Fortunato will criticize Luchresi and volunteer to taste the wine. Montresor then takes Fortunato to his empty palazzo, where there are no servants or attendants. Montresor explains to his audience that he had specifically told his servants that he would not be home later, knowing that they would abscond from their duties.

Once Fortunato arrives at Montresor's home, Montresor leads him through the depths of his underground catacombs. Several times Montresor offers Fortunato wine along their journey to further intoxicate him while he insincerely encourages Fortunato to turn back. Montresor knows that Fortunato's pride will motivate him to continue traveling deeper until they reach the Amontillado. When Fortunato reaches the end of the vault, Montresor quickly shackles his arms and begins building a wall behind Fortunato. Brick by brick, Montresor buries Fortunato alive in the depths of his family's catacombs, where no one will hear or discover him. Montresor then refuses to reveal his secret for fifty years.

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In order to ensure that he succeeds in getting his revenge on Fortunato Montresor concocts an elaborate plan to ensure that he will succeed and will never be caught. The first part of his plan is to convince Fortunato to come with him to his families' underground vault. In order to do this he tells Fortunato that he has purchased a very rare wine and wants Fortunato to help him determine if it is authentic. He knows that Fortunato will be unable to resist the chance to try this rare wine and demonstrate his great knowledge of wine. The second part of his plan is to make sure that all of his servants are gone for the night when he brings Fortunato home. In order to do this he tells them that he will be gone and needs them to watch the residence. He knows that they will take it as an opportunity to leave and leave the residence deserted. Once they reach the vaults Montresor leads Fortunato deep into the vaults in pursuit of the "Amontillado." In reality, he leads Fortunato to a remote passage where he has removed part of the wall to trap Fortunato. He leads Fortunato into the hole where he chains him to a wall and then fills the hole in the wall. Fortunato is never seen or heard from again.

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