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", what effect does Montresor's repetition of Fortunato's words have?

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After Montresor partially places the twelfth and final stone in place, Fortunato begins to laugh and says that Montresor's actions were an excellent jest. Fortunato is holding onto the hope that Montresor is only playing a trick on him and attempts to laugh off the horrific situation. Montresor responds by yelling, "The Amontillado!" as a mocking gesture and reminder of how he easily persuaded Fortunato to follow him into the depths of his family's catacombs. Montresor continues to mock Fortunato by repeating his words and pleas for help. The effect of Montresor repeating Fortunato's words emphasizes the isolation that Fortunato is experiencing, which effectively highlights his terrifying situation. By repeating Fortunato's words, Montresor also reveals the depth of his madness and gravity of his revenge. He desires to make Fortunato feel completely helpless and frightened. Essentially, Montresor does not only want Fortunato to die but also to suffer, which is why he mocks him by repeating his words. Overall, Montresor emphasizes Fortunato's isolation and helplessness by repeating his words, which also reveals his twisted sense of humor, maniacal personality, and desire for revenge.

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Montresor is mocking Fortunato. Montresor enjoys listening to Fortunato's pleas and cries. It shows the depth of Montresor's resentment (real or imagined) against Fortunato. He wants Fortunato to suffer, so he taunts him. It also shows the madness of Montresor, for would a sane person enjoy killing someone so much?

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