illustration of Fortunato standing in motley behind a mostly completed brick wall with a skull superimposed on the wall where his face should be

The Cask of Amontillado

by Edgar Allan Poe

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," has Montresor committed the same crime previously?

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We have no evidence that Montresor has committed this crime before. When he speaks of the pile of bones that he had spoken of earlier, he refers to this utterance:

Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner [with piles of bones]. From the fourth [side] the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size.

The bones in the catacombs are of people in Montresor's family who died long ago. They are not the bones of people Montresor has murdered.

What Montresor is saying is that he has returned to the pile of bones thrown down in the middle of the floor. At this point, he has chained Fortunato to the wall. Montresor begins tossing the mound of bones on the floor aside in order to get to the stones and mortar he has hidden underneath. We realize that it was Montresor who removed these bones from the wall earlier. We perceive that he has planned his crime very carefully.

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," there is no reason to believe that Montresor committed murder before he killed Fortunato. The reason his says "the piles of bones of which I have before spoken" is because he described them earlier in the story.

There is tons of imagery in this story, and the description of the catacombs aids in creating the eerie mood. Describing the pile of bones that lays by Fortunato's final resting place is an example of such imagery. Also, Montresor placed those bones there to cover the mortar and tools he uses to entomb his "friend," which suggests that this act was premeditated.

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No. Montresor, the narrator, is describing the crime that he committed fifty years ago. When he makes reference to the piles of bones, he is referring to the catacomb where he has brought Fortunato to murder him. The catacomb is lined with mounds of human skeletons and bones.

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