Why is the setting in "The Cask of Amontillado" important?

The two primary settings in this short story, a festive carnival and eerie catacombs, stand in sharp contrast to each other. This contrast serves to highlight Fortunato's confusion and to hide the true motives of Montresor.

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The contrast in the two primary settings of "The Cask of Amontillado" is especially powerful in contributing to the confusion of Fortunato and the eerie mood that Poe creates.

Fortunato encounters Montresor during a carnival. American readers might liken this setting to something akin to Mardi Gras: wild festivities, an abundance of alcohol, and generally convivial crowds. Fortunato is ready to fully engage in the festive atmosphere, as is evident by his dress:

The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells.

Fortunato also prides himself as a wine connoisseur, so this scene would have particular interest for him. Ready to engage in all the Carnival can offer, he is not skeptical of a "friend's" offer to take him to investigate the authenticity of some Amontillado.

As Fortunato leaves with Montresor, the setting changes quickly—and so does Fortunato's health. He begins coughing as they stand on the "damp grounds...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 892 words.)

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