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hgarey71 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Cask of Amontillado" does follow the plot structure of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Here is a description of each plot element: Exposition often includes the setting, an introduction to the characters, and an inciting incident—something that gets the action going. The rising action is when the problems in the story are revealed. Things are heating up in this section of the plot. The climax is often described as the height of the action. It is a turning point in the action, a point of no return. Everything that happens after the climax will be a direct result of an action or choice that was made during the climax. The falling action is part of that—the events that happen as a result of the climax. And the resolution is how the problem(s) get solved, or how the story wraps up.

  • Exposition—In Poe's story, the exposition includes Montresor confessing that he had put up with Fortunato's nonsense as long as he could, and when Montresor insulted him, he set his sights on revenge. This is the inciting incident in Poe's story. The exposition also describes the setting, which is the time of Carnival in Italy. Carnival is similar to the American "Mardi Gras" (Fat Tuesday) celebrations in New Orleans. They take place just before Ash Wednesday, about forty days before Easter.
  • Rising Action—The rising action in Poe's story occurs when Montresor finds Fortunato at Carnival and convinces him to come inspect a pipe of Amontillado he has received. Amontillado is a type of wine, and Fortunato considers himself a connoisseur. Montresor plays with Fortunato in this section like a cat plays with a mouse, telling him he could ask someone else, Luchesi perhaps, if Fortunato doesn't want to come. Fortunato scoffs at this and agrees to go to Montresor's catacombs to taste the wine. All throughout their descent, Montresor feigns concern for Fortunato's health and tries to convince him to leave the catacombs.
  • Climax—The climax of this story occurs when Montresor chains Fortunato to the wall and begins to layer brick after brick to entomb him.
  • Falling Action—Fortunato sobers up and realizes what is happening. At first, he thinks it's a joke and talks about how they will laugh about it for years. When he realizes the truth, he begins to beg Montresor to stop, crying, "For the Love of God, Montresor!"
  • Resolution—the resolution of this story is very short. It is contained in the quote that follows and ends with the Latin phrase "rest in peace."

"I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up. 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."

anthonda49 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The plot is based on the concept of revenge for some insult (never revealed) to the narrator, Montresor. Fortunado had the grave mistake of somehow insulting Montresor. Montresor plotted his revenge against the unknowing victim for quite some time. He used Fortunado's pride in the knowledge of wines to lure him to his gruesome death, walled up alive in the catacombs of the Montresors. The ironies that appear in the trip to the keg of wine warn the reader of Montresor's warped mind. His false concern for the victim and his use of words with more than one meaning have no effect on the drunken Fortunado however. His disappearance will remain a mystery to all of the townspeople, except for Montresor.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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