What are some other possible reasons for Montresor's feeling sick in his heart at this point in his revenge against Fortunato?At the end of "The Cask of Amontillado," first person narrator...

What are some other possible reasons for Montresor's feeling sick in his heart at this point in his revenge against Fortunato?

At the end of "The Cask of Amontillado," first person narrator Montresor tells us that his "heart grew sick; it was the dampness of the catacombs that made it so .

 

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You're a little overextended on this question, so I'll choose the one you seem most interested in hearing about:  what are some other possible reasons for Montressor's feeling sick in his heart at this stage of his revenge against Fortunato.  

I've always had a couple of thoughts about this very line as I've read and taught "The Cask of Amontillado."  Consider first that once Fortunato's bells ceased their jingling, Montressor's revenge is complete.  There is something anticlimactic about a screaming man who is suddenly silent.  The next line says he forced the last brick into the wall, which of course has a possible double meaning--he had to force the last brick in or he had to force himself to place the last brick or perhaps both.

One other possible meaning of the "sick at heart" line is one I tend to think about more often.  The one aspect of revenge according to Montressor, in addition to not getting caught or punished, is making sure the victim knows who and why they're being punished.  It has always felt to me as if Montressor accomplished the who but not the why.  Perhaps he intended to make some kind of final "Aha!  I gotcha!" speech in those last moments before the wall was complete but was robbed of the opportunity. 

It's difficult to be too rational when speaking of Montressor, since he's not particularly stable psychologically.  There are certainly other potential interpretations of the line, no doubt, but this should get you started. 

Unlock This Answer Now

Read the study guide:
The Cask of Amontillado

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question