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"The Cask of Amontillado" begins with Montresor addressing someone familiar, someone who knows the "nature of his soul." Now, as to who that might be is anyone's guess. My thought would be that after fifty years, the only person I would trust enough to tell a secret like this would be my husband or wife and/or possibly my children. The only reason I would do it then would be to clear my conscience. Another case scenario could be a direct descendant of Fortunato, which sort of invalidates the whole "nature of his soul" thing, but hey, we are inferring, right. Suppose a direct descendant of Fortunato's visted upon Montresor's death bed, and in an attempt to gain a little further revenge, he spills this whole story to them. That makes for an interesting spin on the story if you are guessing to whom the narrator is making his confession. Hope this helps. Brenda
I have always felt that Montresor's narrative is not to be taken as being spoken aloud to another person who is present--as in Robert Browning's dramatic monologues--but is a written document which is found among a lot of other papers after the death of the recipient or even found among the papers of Montresor himself, who wrote it while drunk and then decided not to mail it the next day. For one thing, the narrative (which I will not call a confession) is in English. That suggests that the man who takes credit as the author, Mr. Edgar Allan Poe, somehow got hold of the original document written in French or Italian, and translated it for publication in a magazine. I imagine the person to whom the original letter was addressed to be a woman who has known Montresor all his life--someone like one of the confidantes (or ficelles) in stories by Henry James. The basic idea is simple enough: A man writes a letter and it is found many years later and published because it tells an interesting true story. One of Henry James's better known stories, "The Aspern Papers," deals with documents written by a poet who died many years before the story takes place.
Many critics believe that Montresor is confessing to a priest, perhaps on his death bed. Montresor makes it very clear that the action of this story took place 50 years prior to this, and he says that the best way to get revenge is only to do so without ever getting caught. Montresor was an adult when he killed Fortunato, so 50 years later would make him an elderly man. In order to still enjoy his revenge, he could not tell anyone in authority what happened. A priest would have to keep his secret, and he might, as an old man, feel the need to confess his sins before he died.
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