What characteristics of the narrator, Montresor, make him an effective villain?

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  1. With his twisted logic at the first as he explains why a wrong is redressed, Montresor seems particularly nefarious
  2. His toying with the foolish Fortunato is villainous
  3. Montresor's excessive punishment indicates his malevolence.
  4. His boasting that the grave has not been disturbed for "these many years" indicates the delight that the villainous Montresor has in his deed. 
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I have to agree with wannam. I think that the fact that we, as readers, have no idea why Montressor is enacting revenge upon Fortunado makes him the most villainous. As readers, we cannot justify his actions based upon what wrongs he has suffered.

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I think one of  the main things that makes Montressor a villain is that he does not defind the insult Fortunado has given him.  We know he believes there was an insult but we do not know the nature of it.  As readers, we find it hard to believe that any insult could deserve the punishment Montressor gives.  We also see his cold and cruel calculations to deal out said punishment.  Montressor gives great thought to his own plans but little thought to the suffering on Fortunado.  Montressor never expresses regret or guilt for his terrible crime.  These are many of the markings of a classic villain.

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Montresor conceives an intelligent, crafty and well-thought-out plan of murder and then carries it through without a hitch. He manages to do it, literally, without getting blood on his hands, and he fulfills his two main objectives: To complete his act of revenge and to not be caught.

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Montresor is an effective villain for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • He is extremely self-confident
  • He is very vain
  • He is conniving and clever
  • He chooses a particular gruesome and cruel method of killing his victim
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He is positively creepy. Since we are inside his head, we know his thoughts and they are very disturbing. I think the fact that we don't know his victim's actions helps. If we knew that Fortunado really did commit some horrible sin against him, we might be more sympathetic.
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