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," why does the narrator need Fortunato's advice?

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In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," the narrator lets the reader know that he pretends to seek out Fortunato for advice on a cask of rare and expensive wine, the amontillado. What he really wants is revenge. 

The story begins, as is typical of Poe, to introduce the reader to the narrator's main concern. He is vague in the nature of his grievances with Fortunato, saying that the other man has "injured" him on countless occasions, but now he has somehow insulted the speaker who has decided to take his revenge. However, he must have it without being caught!

I must not only punish but punish with impunity.

In order to get Fortunato to accompany him to the place where he can carry out his plan of vengeance, he first announces to his enemy that he has a rare "pipe" (container) of amontillado. In that it is the middle of Carnival, Fortunato finds this hard to believe, as nothing so fine would be available in the midst of this time of grand celebration. 

I said to him --"My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met…I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts."

"How?" said he. "Amontillado, A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle of the carnival!"

"I have my doubts," I replied; "and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain."


"I have my doubts."

The second thing the narrator does is appeal to Fortunato's ego, saying that the speaker foolishly paid full price without getting Fortunato's advice. Painting himself a fool, he infers that Fortunato is a knowledgeable connoisseur of fine wine. Both of these items engage Fortunato's mind to such an extent that he is pleased to travel with the narrator down into the catacombs beneath the city, where the narrator says the wine is resting. 

Once the narrator has fed the unsuspicious man a great deal to drink as they walk, he is stupefied to find himself chained to a wall while the narrator builds a brick wall in which to entomb the unfortunate Fortunato.

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In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," what advice did Montresor ask of Fortunato?

Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" is a story of revenge and madness. Montersor, the protagonist of the tale, lures Fortunato into the catacombs in order to bury him alive behind a wall for the "thousand injuries" inflicted upon him by Fortunato. Planning to draw Fortunato into the catacombs willingly, Montersor asks some advice of Fortunato.

It so happens that Montresor possesses a cask of Amontillado (a sherry which is alluded to to being rare, especially during carnival). Montresor openly questions the authenticity of the sherry, covertly challenging Fortunato with verifying it to be real. Knowing that Fortunato believes himself to be connoisseur, Montresor knows that he would desire the chance to authenticate the Amontillado. This is what Montersor plans on in order to get him into the recesses of the catacombs. 

Essentially, Montersor asks Fortunato for his advice upon a cask (barrel) of Amontillado. 

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