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In the beginning, Fortunato says, “I shall not die of a cough.” Montressor answers him with the words, “True-true.” Montressor knows exactly how Fortunato is going to die- starvation and dehydration behind the wall that he intends to build. Later Fortunato makes a secret sign of the Masons. Montressor does not know the hand sigh, but he tells Fortunato that he is a “mason” and shows him his trowel. They are going to look at a cask of wine. Why would Montressor need a trowel? Then, before they enter the catacombs, Montressor puts on a black silk mask and a cape which represents the devil or death. Also of interest is the family crest of Montressor. It showsa human foot crushing a serpent whose fangs are imbedded in the heel of the foot. The motto is “Nemo me impune lacessit” which means, “No on wounds me with impunity.” In the eyes of Montressor, the heel is his and the serpent is Fortunato. Montressor believes that he has been wronged and that he must have revenge.
The first hint that Montressor gives to Fortunado in terms of what he expects deals with how far into the vaults he actually takes him. It seems unlikely that they would have to go so far and so deep into the depths of these catacombs just for a bottle of wine. The second hint comes into play when the two discuss Montressor’s family crest and motto. He describes the crest as “A huge human foot d'or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.” This image should immediately invoke violence but if that isn’t enough, the family motto is translated into, “No one attacks me with impunity.” This should tell Fortunado that Montressor is not a man who lets anything go and that he will get his revenge on anyone who crosses him. Finally, the third hint appears when the two men are discussing Montressor’s history as a mason. Fortunado does not believe that he is a mason, and Montressor just happens to have a trowel on hand that he takes out of his pocket. The reader and Fortunado should sonder why this man is bringing Fortunado to sample wine with a bricklaying tool in his pocket.
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