What evidence suggests that Montresor has committed the perfect crime in "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe?

The primary evidence that suggests that Montresor committed the perfect crime in "The Cask of Amontillado" is that he has never been charged with murder and continues to live as a free man. The entire story is Montresor's confession, and the narrative documents his first time admitting that he killed Fortunato. The fact that Fortunato's bones have been undisturbed for fifty years and Montresor has never been arrested proves that he committed the perfect crime.

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Montresor is unbelievably thoughtful and careful when executing this murder in revenge for the wrongs Fortunato has done him. He knows just how to manipulate people to avoid suspicion, and his thoughtful planning at each stage of the murder is evidence that he commits the perfect crime. First, he claims that he never "gave utterance to a threat"; he tells no one about his plans to kill Fortunato. Further, he says,

It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will.

He allows Fortunato to continue to think that they are on good terms so that Fortunato does not guard himself against Montresor's machinations.

Next, Montresor has chosen a night in which he can be in costume: a night during the carnival season. After he finds Fortunato in the streets, drunk, Montresor dons a "mask of black silk" and draws a long, black cloak around him so that no one will be able to identify him. Anyone who sees the two men together will not know that it is Montresor underneath the black costume, and so he will not be connected with Fortunato's disappearance.

Third, Montresor emptied his house of servants without appearing to realize that he has done so. Rather than give everyone the night off, which could raise suspicions later, he gives them "explicit orders" that they should "not [...] stir from the house" though he, himself, will not be home all night. Of this, he says,

These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned.

Finally, because of the manner in which Montresor disposes of Fortunato, there is literally no evidence of the crime. There is no blood, no body to hide or get rid of, and no murder weapon to be found. By walling Fortunato up in such an extensive underground vault, Montresor all but insures that no one will ever find Fortunato's body.

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At the beginning of the story, Montresor outlines his perfect revenge by stating,

I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.

Montresor is saying that in order to enact the perfect revenge, he must punish his enemy without suffering the consequences of his actions, which exactly what he does. The vengeful Montresor understands the importance of getting away with his crime and also finds it necessary that Fortunato recognize him as the perpetrator. Montresor proceeds to enact the perfect revenge by manipulating Fortunato and leading him through his catacombs, where he eventually buries him alive.

The clearest evidence that Montresor committed the perfect crime is that he has never been charged with Fortunato's murder and has continued to live as a free man for the last fifty years. Montresor took many precautions to avoid suspicion, which paid off in the end. He remained amicable around Fortunato, wore an inconspicuous black costume to the festival, made sure that his house was empty, and buried Fortunato in the back of his family's vaults, where no one would travel or search. While one cannot be certain of where Montresor is currently telling his story from or who he is telling it to, he does inform the reader that for "half of a century" no person has disturbed Fortunato's bones. This statement is the main evidence that Montresor followed through with his revenge and committed the perfect crime.

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The main evidence that supports the proposal that Montresor has committed the perfect crime is the fact that for over half a century no one has discovered Fortunato's body or convicted Montresor of his crime.

At the beginning of the short story, Montresor makes it clear that in order to enact the perfect revenge, one must "not only punish but punish with impunity," which is exactly what he does. Montresor carefully plots his revenge by maintaining a friendly appearance in Fortunato's presence and waiting for the perfect time to lead his enemy into his family's catacombs. Montresor waits until Fortunato is drunk during the carnival season, lies to his servants in order to come home to an empty house, and fabricates a clever story that lures the unsuspecting Fortunato deep into his family's vaults. By burying Fortunato alive in the depths of his catacombs, Montresor ensures that his enemy's remains will never be discovered. At the end of the short story, Montresor says,

Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!

The fact that Montresor is never arrested, accused, or convicted of murdering Fortunato is evidence that he has committed the perfect crime.

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In my opinion, the clearest evidence that Montresor has committed the perfect crime is that he has not been prosecuted for the crime of killing Fortunato.  The story is narrated by Montresor, but not the Montresor of the time of the story.  Instead, the Montresor who narrates the story is looking back at the time that he killed Fortunato.  It is decades later when he is telling the story.  If he has not been caught and punished after all these years, he must have committed the perfect crime.

In the last lines of the story, Montresor reveals that he has gotten away with the crime for something like 50 years:

Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. IN PACE REQUIESCAT!

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There are three indications in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado” that serve to illustrate Montresor’s success in murdering Fortunato with impunity.  The first indication is not found in the text per se, but rather can be inferred from the fact that the story is related in retrospective fashion; in other words, it is clear from the first-person narration and use of the past tense throughout that the murder occurred at some point in the past.

The next indicator that Montresor succeeded in getting away with murder occurs at the outset, when the narration sets the stage for the story to follow and for the planning that went into the crime’s preparation.  Montresor, in his narration, informs the reader of the prerequisite for the perfect crime:  having the deed go undetected:

“ . . . the very definitiveness with which it [the extraction of retribution for Fortunato’s history of unspecified attacks or insults upon Montresor] was resolved, precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with impunity.”

The final and definitive indication that Montresor was successful in getting away with premeditated murder occurs in the final sentence:

“Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!”

Poe ends his short story with the narrator’s noting that the evidence of his crime has gone undetected for more than 50 years, and ends his tale with the declaration “Rest in Peace!”  He shows no remorse, and rejoices in both the act of vengeance and in the apparent fact that his crime was never discovered.

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