The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

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In "The Cask of Amontillado", what is the significance of Montressor's family coat of arms and motto?

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Montresor has not been telling Fortunato the truth since he encountered him on the streets and told him he had just bought a cask of Amontillado at a bargain price. Why should the reader believe that the coat of arms Montresor describes to Fortunato is genuine? Why should the reader believe that the motto Montresor describes is genuine? Montresor may enjoy deceiving Fortunato and at the same time hinting that he is going to murder him in revenge for past injuries. Montresor quotes the motto in Latin. Fortunato probably does not even understand Latin. Evidently they have known each other for a...

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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hpup1221 | Student

The coat of arms is an allusion to the bible where it talks about the savior stepping on a serpent and it biting him. This is symbolic for how Montresor feels superior and even like he is the savior. The motto "nemo me impume lacessit." shows why Montrsor thinks that he should revenge on Fortunato, because no one should attack him with impurity.

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sylvos | Student

Much of ms-mcregor said is correct except that Montressor probably views himself as the snake

"“He is an ignoramus,” interrupted my friend, as he stepped unsteadily forward, while I followed immediately at his heels."

Poe purposely uses that imagery so that we imagine Montressor as a snake ready to pounce.

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