Why does Montresor vow revenge on Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe?

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Edgar Allan Poe's chilling short story "The Cask of Amontillado" is a tale of retribution. In the outset, the first person narrator Montresor vows revenge against his supposed friend Fortunato over some "insult." The affront, which must have been significant, is never revealed. It is, however, egregious enough for Montresor to devise a devious and horrible plan to lure Fortunato into the catacombs below his estate with the pretense that he wishes to have Fortunato's opinion about a bottle of rare wine. While in the underground chamber, Montresor chains Fortunato to the catacomb and proceeds to wall him in with brick and mortar. There are two important elements to Montresor's plan. First, it must be well known to Fortunato that Montresor is the one bringing about his demise. Second, Montresor sets up his plan so he will never be apprehended for the crime. Fortunato simply disappears. Some critics believe Montresor is telling his story to a priest at the end of his life, revealing a certain amount of remorse on Montresor's part. Whatever the reality, the reader is never made aware of the exact motive which prompted Montresor to kill Fortunato in such a ghastly way.     

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