illustration of Fortunato standing in motley behind a mostly completed brick wall with a skull superimposed on the wall where his face should be

The Cask of Amontillado

by Edgar Allan Poe

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What symbolic or ironic function is served by Montresor's name and by his speech after he fetters Fortunato to the wall?

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In Latin, "montresor" means "no one provokes me without impunity." We never know what exactly Fortunato has done to so enrage Montresor (although some guesses may be his borish nature and snobbishness) and "Fortunato" itself is an ironic name.  (The Latin here is "Fortunate one," ironic, as he certainlu is not fortunate.) 

When Montresor chains his supposed nemisis to the wall, the irony of both of their names is complete...Montresor is avenged for a probably imaginary crime, and Fortunato is any but favored. 

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After Montresor chains Fortunato to the wall, he taunts Fortunato with, "Once more let me implore you to return. No? Then I must positively leave you." His plea to Fortunato to return is ironic because Fortunato is unable to leave. Montresor invites him to again feel the nitre just as he did on their trek through the catacombs. Of course, Fortunato cannot feel the nitre either because his hands are in shackles. All through the story, Montresor baits Fortunato, playing a cat-and-mouse game with him. Almost all of Montresor's conversation with Fortunato while walking throught the catacombs is wrought with irony.

As far as Montresor's name is concerned, I'm not sure it has a symbolic or ironic meaning, but Fortunato's name certainly does. The irony lies in the fact that Fortunato is anything but fortunate since he is cruelly led to die from suffocation or starvation.

The Montresor family has a coat of arms and motto that is symbolic. Their coat of arms is a huge human foot crushing a snake that has sunk its fangs into the heel of the foot. Their motto is a Montresor will exact vengeance for any harm that may be done to him. These family symbols represent the horrible murder of Fortunato. Montresor is eaten up with hate for Fortunato which destroys his soul, just like Montresor destroys Fortunato. He truly enjoys his act of revenge.

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