In what ways are Monstresor and Fortunato alike and different in "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Montresor and Fortunato are both upper-class, but Fortunato belongs to a more privileged group than Montresor.

We do not have much background on Montresor and Fortunato, but we can tell that they are not close friends.  They seem to be only acquaintances. There is evidence that Fortunato is part of a privileged group known as the Masons, but Montresor is not.

“You do not comprehend?” he said.

“Not I,” I replied.

“Then you are not of the brotherhood.”


“You are not of the masons.”

“Yes, yes,” I said; “yes, yes.”

“You? Impossible! A mason?”

Fortunato laughs off the thought of Montresor being a Mason. This seems to show Montresor is not in Fortunato’s league. We do not know what the supposed injury was that Fortunato did to Montresor, but he may be envious of Fortunato’s status. Fortunato readily considers himself a wine expert, and Montresor appeals to him on the grounds of asking for his help. He also demonstrates concern for Fortunato’s health. It seems to indicate Fortunato is his superior.

Both men are definitely from important families to a certain extent; Montresor has a crypt, Fortunato is one of the Masons. Montresor seems to suffer from some kind of psychosis. He believes he is justified in killing Fortunato over the slightest perceived insult.

Fortunato is definitely gullible, while Montresor is cunning. Montresor is able to concoct an elaborate scheme that gets Fortunato underground and allows him to kill him with impunity. Fortunato never sees it coming. Montresor must have seemed like a perfectly normal man.

It also seems that Fortunato knows how to have a good time, but Montresor does not.

He accosted me with excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much. The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells. 

Montresor celebrates the holiday by killing a man. He is not out partying like Fortunato. Different strokes, I guess.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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