Why do you think Montresor succeeds in leading Fortunato to the niche without raising his suspicions?

Expert Answers

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

Montressor attached himself to Fortunato at exactly the right time: Fortunato was drunk, suffering from a cold, and enjoying the spirit of the carnival. Montressor knew that Fortunato's weakness was the grape, and he knew that Fortunato could not pass up a free sample of a great Amontillado. Since Montressor's wine cellars were located within his family catacombs, there was no reason for Fortunato to think that anything was suspicious. These combinations made it an easy task for Montressor to lead Fortunato to the spot that he had picked for his final resting place.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," Poe's narrator is a very clever and devious man who speaks eloquently with an acute understanding of men's natures.  Montresor is patient, too.  Like a cat who stalks his prey, Montesor searches for Fortunato's vulnerability:  "He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine" and in the matter of old wines, he "was sincere."  Knowing that Fortunato is always interested in tasting a superior wine, Montesor seeks out his victim, feigning joy at finding him as he has wanted to "consult" with him about his large cask of Amontillado.

Then, lest he seem too eager, Montesor plays with Fortunato as a cat plays with a mouse:

'As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi.  If anyone has a critical turn, it is he.  He will tell me--'

'Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from sherry!'

Again Montesor pulls back, apologizing for asking him because the vaults are damp and he should not endanger Fortunato.  At this point, Montesor toys with the ego of Fortunato, again.  He says he will just ask Luchesi.

Drunkenly, Fortunato presses himself upon Montresor' s arm and is led away.  As they enter the catacombs, Montresor makes certain that Fortunato continues to drink.  He protests against going further, telling his victim that the niter is too bad, the damp is harmful. He says, "As for Luchesi--" and Fortunato angrily remarks, "He is an ignoramus" and goes on because he desires to be the one who judges the amontillado, not Luchesi.

As they pass into the damp vault, Montesor pretends that he will take Fortunato back; he distracts the man with the sign of the mason and phrases in latin.  Finally, Montesor has the unsuspecting Fortunato so drunk that the victim can easily be fettered to a wall.  It is too late.  Montesor has his victim where he wants him; he walls in Fortunato.  When the man shouts, no one hears.  Montesor takes pride in his work and considers it an act of justice.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial