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

Start Free Trial

How does Fortunato die in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Quick answer:

In "The Cask of Amontillado," Fortunato more than likely died of asphyxiation or starvation behind the wall that Montresor erected inside his family's catacombs.

Expert Answers

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

In "The Cask of Amontillado," Montresor tells his revenge story of how he murdered his "friend" Fortunato by entombing him inside his family's extensive catacombs. Montresor vaguely informs the reader that Fortunato has caused him a "thousand injuries" and outlines how he plans to enact the perfect revenge. Montresor then approaches the unsuspecting Fortunato during carnival and tells him that he plans on asking another man, Luchesi, to authenticate a pipe of what he believes is Amontillado wine. Montresor knows that Fortunato considers himself a connoisseur of wines and will not pass on the opportunity to display his knowledge. Fortunato falls for Montresor's trap by dismissing Luchesi's expertise and offering to authenticate the rare wine. Already drunk, Fortunato proceeds to follow Montresor into his family's vaults and continues to drink during their journey, which further impairs his thinking.

Once Fortunato reaches the back wall of the catacombs, Montresor shackles him inside a recess and begins to wall him in with stone and mortar. Montresor thus successfully entombs Fortunato alive and leaves him in the catacombs to die. Fortunato more than likely dies of asphyxiation or starvation behind the wall that Montresor has erected. After killing Fortunato, Montresor keeps his secret for fifty years and does not tell a soul. Montresor gets away with murder, and Fortunato's skeleton remains undiscovered inside the wall of the catacombs.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial