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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Who does Montresor deceive in Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," and what else might he be lying about?

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The classic short story by Edgar Allan Poe, "The Cask of Amontillado", characterizes Montresor as an intelligent narrator who knows how to manipulate those around him to his advantage. Montresor tells the story and informs the reader of how well he planned his revenge on Fortunado. He admits that he lied to his servants "telling them that [he] should not return until the morning, and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the house". He does this because he knows that they will all leave as soon as he is gone and join the festivities of the time. He uses this same form of reverse psychology on Fortunado telling him he must go back and not suffer the damps of the catacombs because of his cough. He knows that Fortunado will continue in spite of his suggestion. Seeing the ending of the story and the way in which Montresor murders Fortunado then tells this story years later as if bragging, we question his reliability. He could be seen as an unreliable narrator. We do not know exactly who he is telling the story to. All we know is that they "know the nature of [his] soul". This could be a last confession before death.

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