The Cask of Amontillado Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

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Provide at least two examples of foreshadowing from the story and indicate what each example foreshadows.

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When Montresor encounters Fortunato on the street he twice pretends to believe that Fortunato has an "engagement," that is, that Fortunato is expected somewhere. Montresor would not like to lure Fortunato to his palazzo if, for example, he were expected at home. His wife might send servants out looking for him and asking questions; and people on the streets might remember that he had been with Montresor when last seen. But since everybody had been drinking, it was likely that nobody would remember much of anything the next day, or the day after that, when it was finally realized that Fortunato was missing. Montresor gets no response from his intended victim the first time he pretends to think Fortunato has an "engagement," but the second time he tries the same ploy he gets the answer he wanted. Fortunato says:

“I have no engagement;—come.”

This foreshadows Fortunato's doom, since the reader knows full well that Montresor hates Fortunato and is probably looking for a way to kill him without getting caught or suspected. Later, when Fortunato finds himself chained inside a narrow recess in the rock wall of the catacombs, he tries to plant seeds of doubt in Montresor's mind by suggesting that he actually is expected at home. He says:

"But is it not getting late? Will not they be awaiting us at the palazzo, the Lady Fortunato and the rest? Let us be gone.”

But Montresor knows his victim is lying and desperately trying trickery to get himself released.

Another good example of foreshadowing is to be seen in the bait Montresor uses to entice Fortunato to his underground wine vaults and extensive caverns.

He had a weak point—this Fortunato—although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseur-ship in wine. 

The reader will sense that the nonexistent cask of Amontillado will be the means by which Montresor will accomplish the difficult task of getting Fortunato to come to his palazzo immediately, in spite of the fact that it is nighttime, Fortunato is having a good time at the carnival, Fortunato is inadequately dressed for going into a cold, damp cavern, Fortunato has a bad cold, and Fortunato is drunk.

I said to him—“My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day. But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts.”

If Fortunato takes the bait he is doomed. But Montresor knows his man. 

He prided himself on his connoisseur-ship in wine.

Montresor makes it a matter of urgency by telling him:

"You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain.”

It is the idea of a bargain that motivates Fortunato. He assumes that Montresor bought only one cask because he wasn't quite sure it was genuine Amontillado. Fortunato can tell with one sip. If it is genuine, he would like to get in on the bargain. The cask must have come by ship. He could easily find that Spanish ship in the harbor without going home with Montresor. He could taste the wine on board and deal directly with the captain or purser. But Montresor has told him:

“As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me—”

If Fortunato doesn't go home with Montresor immediately, Montresor will go to Luchesi, and Fortunato would find himself competing with another expert for the cargo of nonexistent Amontillado. All of this foreshadows Fortunato's arrival underground in a thin jester's costume following Montresor to his gruesome death.

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Foreshadowing is a literary technique used to build suspense in a story by way of hints or clues that suggest what will happen next in the story.

Two examples of foreshadowing in "The Cask of Amontillado" and what the examples are hinting at:

1. Fortunato states, "I shall not die of a cough." Montresor responds, "True," and by doing so he allows the reader to suspect that there is another more devious, sinister plan in the making. Montresor knows Fortunato will die from starvation in the crypt.

2. During the conversation involving the Masonic order, Montresor defends the fact that he is a member of the Masons but when he lifts his trowel the reader wonders if he means he is literally a stonemason. Indeed Montresor will build Fortunato's grave from stones by the close of the story.

"The Cask of Amontillado" is a dark horror story written in classic Edgar Allan Poe style.

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