The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

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What can the reader infer about Montresor's social position in "The Cask of Amontillado," and what evidence does the text provide that Montresor is an unreliable narrator?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Outwardly, it would appear that Montresor is a wealthy man who occupies an elite social status. He lives in a palazzo, he has servants, and his extensive catacombs suggest that he comes from a large, revered family.

However, there is evidence to suggest that Montresor has recently fallen on hard times and does not occupy the same social status as Fortunato. When Montresor informs Fortunato that he has purchased a pipe of Amontillado, he says, "I was fearful of losing a bargain." A pipe is a large container of wine, and Montresor more than likely planned on selling the wine in smaller quantities to make a profit. If Montresor were as wealthy as many suggest, the Amontillado's price would not be a concern.

Another piece of evidence to suggest that Montresor is experiencing financial struggles concerns the behavior of his servants. As soon as he informs them that he will not be home, they disobey his orders and leave the estate. Their actions suggest that Montresor may not be paying them...

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