What are three details that make Montresor an "untrustworthy narrator" in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Expert Answers
caledon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An untrustworthy narrator can be identified by several key elements;

  • The narrator's perspective and opinions are the only one we are exposed to.
  • The narrator fails to give details about an important event.
  • Opinions are represented as facts.

Generally speaking, an unreliable narrator is one who provides us with incomplete or nonexistant answers to questions that are obviously important; in The Cask of Amontillado, this question might be "what did Fortunato actually DO to Montresor that merits burying him alive?

Much of Montresor's unreliability reveals itself early in the story;

  1. "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I have borne as best I could". Montresor does not tell us what these injuries are.
  2. "You, who so well know the nature of my soul," we do not know Montresor, but as the narrator, he is assuming that we understand and agree with him.
  3. "For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them." This sentence appears at the end of the story and makes it clear that this entire affair took place long ago; it is unclear exactly how old Montresor is at this point, but we might assume anywhere from 70 to 100; this casts doubt on the timeline as well as his memory.
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The Cask of Amontillado

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