The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

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In "The Cask of Amontillado", what character trait is revealed in Montresor when he stops his work to enjoy Fortunato's cries?

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Montresor shows that he is obviously a sadist and that he is enjoying the success of the revenge plan he has been working on for a long time. In addition, Poe needed to fill up some time. After all, building a stone wall from floor to ceiling is not a simple task. Poe didn't want to spend too much time describing the arduous job of building the wall, but he didn't want to make it look too easy either. The real climax to the story occurs when Montresor snaps the padlock that secures the chains around Fortunato's waist. After that, as a good story teller, Poe wanted to conclude the tale neatly and adroitly. However, there was still the big job of laying tier after tier of stones, plastering over the wall with more of the same mortar, and covering the whole section as thoroughly as possible with human bones. Poe's story-telling genius can be seen in the way he manages to cover all this work in so few sentences. When Montresor takes a break from his work, it provides a break from the repetitious description of working with the mortar and stones;, and it also creates the illusion that more time went into the project without wasting additional words. The reader might well wonder how Montresor became so proficient as a mason that he was able to create a nearly perfect wall that appeared to be just a part of the natural granite walls of the catacombs. Montresor wanted to be sure that at no time in the future would anyone who might happen to be down there might notice the existence of an artificial...

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