THE PLOT. Montressor has decided to enact vengeance upon an old adversary, Fortunato, for some undetermined offense. The story takes place at an unnamed location (probably 18th or 19th century Italy) during the carnival season. Montressor encounters Fortunato, who is ironically dressed in the costume of a court jester--a fool. Montressor tells Fortunato that he has a rare bottle of Amontillado (a Spanish sherry) that he would like to have tasted for evaluation; Montressor knows that Fortunato, a wine lover, cannot resist this offer--even though there is no bottle of Amontillado. Montressor leads Fortunato deep into his family catacombs, which doubles as a wine cellar. When they finally reach the deepest and farthest corner of the tombs, Montressor suddenly thrusts a chain around Fortunato and "fettered him to the granite" floor. Montressor then proceeds to wall up his unfortunate victim, laying a wall of bricks around him. After completing the last tier, he leaves Fortunato to die alone. Montressor relates at the end that after "half of a century, no mortal has disturbed them." Montressor has enacted his revenge, and it is a perfect crime.
THE THEME. The dominant theme of the short story is that of revenge or vengeance. Montressor never tells the reader what crime Fortunato has committed against him, but his well-planned plot works to perfection. He punishes Fortunato "with impunity" and without the chance of being caught himself.