The terrifying short story "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe is, in essence, the confession of a murderer. A man named Montresor finds an acquaintance named Fortunato during carnival revelries and lures him deep into the family catacombs under his mansion. Once there, Montresor chains Fortunato...
The terrifying short story "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe is, in essence, the confession of a murderer. A man named Montresor finds an acquaintance named Fortunato during carnival revelries and lures him deep into the family catacombs under his mansion. Once there, Montresor chains Fortunato to a wall, bricks up the opening to the chamber, and leaves him there buried alive. The only motivation that Montresor gives for this horrifying deed is that Fortunato insulted him.
There are several clues in the story as to who Montresor might be addressing and when and why the story is being told, but most of the answers ultimately involve speculation. The only definitive answer concerns when Montresor committed the crime. In the final paragraph, he describes finishing the brickwork in front of the chamber where Fortunato is chained, plastering over the bricks, and then finally placing a "rampart of bones." He then says that "for the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them." By this, we understand that Montresor is confessing to the murder 50 years after it happened.
In the beginning of the story, Montresor addresses "you, who so well know the nature of my soul." This infers that the person he is addressing is someone he knows intimately. Who would that be? We understand from the details that he provides in the story that he is of noble lineage. His family has their own crest, and they are wealthy enough to have private catacombs within which to inter their dead. Montresor refers to his home as a palazzo, or a palatial mansion. He can afford to keep servants and a collection of fine wines. From all this, we understand that Montresor is a nobleman with inherited wealth.
Since at the time of the murder, Montresor was presumably an adult in his twenties or thirties, by the time of the confession that comprises the short story, he would be in his seventies or eighties. He may be upon his deathbed and confessing his sins before he dies, perhaps as part of a sacrament or ceremony of last rites. In this case, the "you" he addresses in the story would be a priest who has come to give him absolution before death. It's also possible, though, that the "you" the story refers to could be a loved one that he trusts such as his wife, a child, or a grandchild, and he wants someone to know his terrible secret before he dies.