The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

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What are some of the flaws (with an "s") that bring about Fortunato's own demise in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Fortunato possesses several significant character flaws that lead to his demise in Poe's classic short story "The Cask of Amontillado." Fortunato's insensitive, confident personality prevents him from recognizing Montresor as a malevolent enemy, who is carefully plotting against him. Montresor mentions in the first paragraph of the short story that Fortunato had caused him a "thousand injuries," which implies that Fortunato is a relatively inconsiderate, rude man.

Fortunato's affinity for wine and his excessive pride are also significant character flaws that lead to his demise. Fortunato is clearly inebriated during his interactions with Montresor, which affects his judgment and causes him to let his guard down. Montresor is also aware that Fortunato takes pride in being a connoisseur of wine, which is why he mentions that he is going to ask Luchresi's advice regarding the rare Amontillado wine. Montresor realizes that Fortunato will object, criticize Luchresi, and insist on identifying if the wine is authentic or not. Overall, Fortunato's character flaws impact his decision-making abilities and prevent him from recognizing Montresor as a dangerous enemy. His excessive pride and affinity for wine also contribute to his terrible decision to follow Montresor deep into his family's catacombs.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Fortunato has several character flaws that lead to his death in "The Cask of Amontillado." First and foremost is Fortunato's cluelessness concerning the depths of Montresor's hatred and desire for revenge. Fortunato should have been wary of Montresor's intent due to the "thousand injuries" he had apparently bestowed upon him. Instead, it was Fortunato's other "weak point"--his great love of wine--that blinded him to Montresor's actual motives. Fortunato also made the mistake of following Montresor on a night when he was inebriated due to the "supreme madness of the carnival season." Fortunato's drunken state robbed him of the good sense and reason that he would normally have possessed. Montresor's perfect crime was enacted successfully because he had already planned his actions based on these flaws, faults he knew would successfully allow Fortunato to willingly follow him just about anywhere in order to taste the rare vintage of Amontillado.

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