To what extent is revenge influenced by society's attitude in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Montresor makes it clear from the opening pages of "The Cask of Amontillado" that revenge is the driving motivation in his life. Montresor claims to have "borne as best I could" the previous "injuries" perpetrated against him by Fortunato, but when Fortunato resorts to "insult," Montresor can stand no more. Perhaps the best example in the story of how society views the importance of revenge can be seen in the interpretation of Montresor's own family motto. When Fortunato drunkenly tells him that he has forgotten the Montresor motto, Montresor reminds him:

"Nemo me impune lacessit."

Translated from Latin, it means "No one attacks me with impunity"--without punishment. The family's coat of arms coincides with the motto:

"A huge human foot d'or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel."

It is obvious that Montresor is not the first of his family to value the importance of revenge.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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