What is the climax of "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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Susan Woodward eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The climax of "The Cask of Amontillado" comes when Montresor walls Fortunato up in a niche in the wall of the catacombs. Fortunato's drunkeness is beginning to wear off, and he realizes Montresor's intent. When he moans, he is no longer in a drunken stupor but the acknowledgement of his situation. When Montresor has the mason work so that it is level with his breast, he flashes the light of his torch within.  He is greeted by the bursting forth of "loud and shrill screams."  At this climactic moment, Montresor is unnerved by what he has done.  He reacts with screams of his own until, from behind the reassuring stone wall, the screams are silenced.

I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs, and felt satisfied. I reapproached the wall; I replied to the yells of him who clamoured. I re-echoed, I aided, I surpassed them in volume and in strength. I did this, and the clamourer grew still.

In the resolution, as Montresor places the last brick in the wall, he thrusts a torch behind the wall and the only response was the jingling of bells from Fortunato's costume. At this point, Fortunato is dead.  Montresor has been avenged.