Rather than qualifying the efforts of Montresor as "hard work and being strong," perhaps the words preparation and determination would be more appropriate to the characterization of Edgar Allan Poe's narrator.
Montresor has certainly been meticulous in working out the details of his ruse to lure the hapless Fortunato into his trap:
- He selects the Carnival season [Mardi Gras] in which to execute his plan since people are disguised, and they are so engaged in libation and reveling that no one is likely to notice any foul play.
- Ironically costumed in a fool's harlequin, Fortunato himself is inebriated and, therefore, less likely to exert good judgment or notice incongruous behavior on Montesor's part.
- As one who is less inhibited from drink, Fortunato is also less likely to hide his pride and jealousy to which Montesor plays with some of his comments and especially his suggestions that Luchesi will be competent enough to take the Amontillado wine for him instead of Fortunato: "Luchesi...cannot distinguish sherry from Amontillado." Thus, Fortunato is more easily manipulated by Montesor, a condition for which the narrator has clearly prepared.
Montresor is relentless in his cruel pursuance of his ends.
- While he feigns concern for Fortunato's weakened lung condition, he really manipulates his victim in piquing Fortunato's pride: "We will go back; your health is precious...." Montesor suggests, but Fortunato proudly replies, "Enough...the cough is a mere nothing;....I shall not die of a cough."
- When Fortunato appeals to Montresor's conscience--"For the love of God, Montresor"--Montresor determinedly rejects even this and skewers Fortunato's words to his own design: "Yes,...for the love of God."
- Even to the end, Montresor is firm in his revenge. In fact, the narration of his tale is a boast of the succes of his perseverence in his terrible deed:
For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them [the stones of Fortunato's tomb.]
Indeed, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" is a tale of the horror that lies in what human beings are capable of when they are prepared and determined to effect their own terrible acts.