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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The word explicit means "clearly stated." In "The Cask of Amontillado," does Montresor make his plans explicit to Fortunato as they descend into the vaults?

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At no time does Montresor explicitly describe his plans to avenge Fortunato by chaining him to the back wall of his family's extensive vaults, building a wall around his enemy, and essentially burying Fortunato alive. At the beginning of the short story, Montresor does not even explicitly state the reason...

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At no time does Montresor explicitly describe his plans to avenge Fortunato by chaining him to the back wall of his family's extensive vaults, building a wall around his enemy, and essentially burying Fortunato alive. At the beginning of the short story, Montresor does not even explicitly state the reason he wants revenge on Fortunato, leaving it up to the reader to interpret the "thousand injuries" and what Fortunato did to offend him. However, Montresor does explicitly inform the reader that he will punish his enemy with impunity and mentions that he carefully disguised his true feelings in Fortunato's presence in order to earn his trust. Poe understood that Montresor's plans of burying Fortunato were horrific and shocking, which is why he purposely omits the explicit details of Montresor's crime. Poe also builds suspense by omitting explicit details as the reader wonders how Montresor will enact his revenge. However, Poe does foreshadow that Montresor will build a wall around Fortunato and bury him alive when Montresor tells his enemy that he is also a "mason" and produces a trowel from his cloak. Overall, Montresor's plans for revenge are purposely vague as Poe builds suspense for the terrifying end of the short story.

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No, Montresor does not make his plans for Fortunato totally explicit before they descend into his family's vaults.  He plans, of course, to murder Fortunato by walling him up alive near the bodies of Montresor's ancestors, and he never clearly states his intention to Fortunato.  He lies about the cask of Amontillado, the uncommon Spanish sherry wine, saying that he's anxious to get a true connoisseur's opinion on his recent purchase.  He is honest, on the other hand, about the niter in the vaults, and he warns Fortunato about the effect this will have on him and his terrible cough.  He is honest, as well, about his family's motto, Latin words which translate to "You will not harm me with impunity."  Thus, Montresor does, in many ways, give Fortunato some warning that he should not accompany him into the vaults, that Montresor might have some score to settle and that it could be dangerous for Fortunato.  However, he knows that Fortunato's pride will not permit him to remain above when a chance to embarrass Montresor lies below.

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