Why Does Montresor Keep Urging Fortunato To Go Back
Why does Montresor keep urging Fortunato to turn back in "The Cask of Amontillado"?
Montresor has a few conditions for his revenge on Fortunato. He feels that he "must not only punish, but punish with impunity." In other words, he wants to exact his revenge but not to have to face any consequences or punishment for it. Next, he feels that a wrong is "equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong." What he means is that he needs to make sure that Fortunato knows that Montresor is the one who punishes him; Fortunato must understand and recognize Montresor's intelligence and superiority.
Montresor identifies pride as Fortunato's one major flaw, and he plans to exploit that pride in order to ensnare his victim. As a result of his pride, Fortunato thinks that he is more discerning than both Montresor and Luchesi, the other local wine connoisseur. Therefore, it makes sense that part of Montresor's revenge would entail proving to Fortunato that Montresor is actually the smarter, the better, of the two. Thus, on their way deeper and deeper into the vaults, Montresor pauses to insist that they go back for the sake of Fortunato's health and well-being. In this way, theoretically, when Fortunato finally realizes his fate—that Montresor plans to wall him up and leave him for dead—he will understand that Montresor actually offered him opportunity after opportunity to return to safety and that Fortunato, in his terrible pride, actually insisted that they move closer and closer to his own ruin. It is a perfect revenge, as Montresor uses Fortunato's biggest flaw against him so that Fortunato, in some ways, seems to ruin himself.
Luring Fortunato into the catacombs is Montresor's cat-and-mouse game where he plays with his prey before 'doing him in.' It also heightens the aspect of perfidity in Montresor, who has obviously taken pleasure in leading Fortunado on. Remember in the opening paragraph he hints that this is part of the gratification of vengeance. In short, it is his kind of sordid 'fun.'
Another intrinsic metaphor here: Note that the nitre forming in the Montresor catacombs has made the configuration of a spider's web. Montresor leads Fortunato to its centre much as a spider would "reel in" an insect already snared by its web.
The is actually a ploy designed to appeal to Fortunato's pride. Whenever Montresor urges Fortunato to turn back, he also adds, "Besides, there is always Luchesi". Since Fortunato is so proud of his ability to judge fine wine, Montresor knows he will not allow Luchesi to judge the wine. In fact, Fortunato always adds, " Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from sherry." So Montresor lures Fortunato farther and farther into his vaults using Fortunato's pride, not really the wine, to get him where he wants him to be.