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
Start Free Trial

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

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

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.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team