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;
- "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I have borne as best I could". Montresor does not tell us what these injuries are.
- "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.
- "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.