Foreshadowing In The Cask Of Amontillado

In "The Cask of Amontillado" what are 5 ways Poe uses foreshadowing to give you clues about the story's outcome?

I've come up with 3:

1. The trowel that he kept in his coat.

2. The family motto.

3. Leading Fortunato down into the catacombs.


Expert Answers

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There are several specific moments of foreshadowing in the text. Montresor gives both his audience and Fortunato hints as to his real motives throughout. As they are moving through the catacombs, Fortunato begins coughing violently & Montresor feigns concern, telling him they will turn back for his health.

“Come,” I said, with decision, “we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi—”

“Enough,” he said; “the cough's a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.”

“True—true,” I replied; “and, indeed, I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily—but you should use all proper caution. A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps.

Fortunato claims he will not die of a cough, & Montresor replies "True-true." He is telling the reader and his victim that he is well aware of how Fortunato will die, for Montresor himself will cause his death. This is just one moment where Poe combines verbal irony and foreshadowing to build the suspense in the story.

One other example of foreshadowing is Fortunato's costume. He is wearing the traditional garb of the fool for the Venetian carnival. Poe describes it thus:

The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells.

Thus, Fortunato is dressed as a jester, a clown. This foreshadows the role he will play in the story-Montresor's fool. As he becomes progressively more drunk, he becomes sillier and more pathetic, fulfilling the clown role.

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There are a few other possibilities.  First of all, Montresor himself states that he had "vowed revenge" and that he would "punish with impunity."  Revenge, acted out with impunity, means pretty drastic measures.  So, we can take it from Montresor's lips himself in the first paragraph that he is going to enact some awful fate upon Fortunado.  Granted, he isn't specific there, but, it does hook the readers and get them interested, and we know the entire time what is ultimate purpose is.  So, don't skip over that when looking for clues.

Secondly, when he leads Fortunado down to the catacombs, he goes through his own apartment.  There are, fortunately for him, no servants in the house that see him.  He planned this; he told his servants he was going out for the evening, and to stay in the house.  He comments wryly that

"These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned."

Now why would Montresor go to all of the trouble to make sure that his servants weren't in the house?  He would do this to make sure that no one could tie him to being with Fortunado, leading him into the basement.  This tells us a couple things.  One, he doesn't want anyone knowing where Fortunado has gone, when it turns up that he is missing, which means he wants Fortunado to not be found, and two, that he himself can't be implicated just in case Fortunado is found.  In a couple days, Fortunado will be reported missing.  If the servants say Montresor leading him underground, the authorities would search there, and perhaps find him.  This all foreshadows the fact that Montresor is leading him down there, permanently.

I hope that those clues help a bit; good luck!

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