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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Montresor's Motivation for Killing Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"

Summary:

Montresor's motivation for killing Fortunato is revenge. He believes that Fortunato has insulted and wronged him multiple times, and he meticulously plans to exact his vengeance by luring Fortunato into the catacombs and burying him alive.

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Why does Montresor kill Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

At the beginning of the story, Montresor says that he has endured a "thousand injuries" because of Fortunato and that Fortunato had "ventured upon insult." The implication here is that Montresor has been many times annoyed by something that Fortunato has said or done, and the final straw seems to have been this latest insult. Perhaps Montresor feels that Fortunato has in some way dishonored him. Montresor also says, later in the story, that the motto on his family crest is "Nemo me impune lacessit," which is Latin for "no one harms me without punishment." A family crest is a symbol representing the honor of a family name. This then seems to support the idea that Fortunato has in some way dishonored Montresor or at least that Montresor thinks this to be the case.

Montresor doesn't explicitly offer any more reasons for killing Fortunato than those rather cryptic reasons given above. We have a vague sense that Montresor feels as if he has ben dishonored, but nothing more than that. However, at another point in the story, he says something which perhaps points to the real reason for the murder. He says to Fortunato:

your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter.

This quotation suggests that Montresor is jealous of Fortunato, as implied by the repetition of "You are" and by the comparisons he makes between the two of them. Fortunato is respected and admired, and, by implication, Montresor is not. Fortunato is happy, and Montresor "once [. . .] was" but is no longer. Fortunato is a man who would be missed, whereas for Montresor it would be "no matter."

This quotation then seems to point to the real reason behind the murder and explains why Montresor only otherwise alludes vaguely to "injuries" and "insults." It is easier for him to pretend that the murder is a deserved retaliation for such "injuries" and "insults," than it is for him to admit, even to himself, that it is merely an act of jealousy and bitterness.

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Why does Montresor kill Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor never goes into great detail about his reasons for killing Fortunato, however, he claims that he kills Fortunato because of an insult. Montresor states that:

The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.

In the story, Montresor seems to have an overly developed sense of pride or honor that requires him to respond to something like a minor insult with murder. After he is insulted by Fortunato, Montresor concocts an elaborate plan in order to redress the wrong. He comes up with a ruse about a rare cask of wine and uses it to lead Fortunato deep into the underground vault under his family estate. Once there, he tricks Fortunato into going into a dead end tunnel, shackles him to a wall, and covers the tunnel with bricks. Why Montresor thinks that this is the appropriate response to an insult, no one knows.

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Why does Montresor kill Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Edgar Allan Poe creates the portrait of a man obsessed. As a first-person narrator, Montresor aims to get the reader he directly addresses on his side by stating that this reader knows "the nature of my soul." This implies as well that he assumes the addressee will know at least some of what constitute the "thousand injuries" that Fortunato has inflicted on him. Montresor does not state, and perhaps believes that the reader already knows, what the territory of "insult" is into which Fortunato has crossed.

We never learn exactly what tipped Montresor over the edge from resentment to premeditated murder. While we do learn by the end that he achieved his goal of revenge, he phrases his intentions as reactions to the other man's offenses. The end result must be complete destruction: "immolation."

By leaving the exact "wrong" unstated, Poe encourages his reader to think of insults they have born and thus to empathize with the wronged man, rather than simply judge him as a cold-blooded killer.

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Why does Montresor kill Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montressor claims that the "thousand injuries" he has sustained from Fortunato have created his animosity toward the other man, but that he has patiently endured these insults. When Fortunato ventures into insulting behavior, Montressor swears revenge.  The reader never finds out exactly what Fortunato has done, and it's possible, due to Poe's penchant for unreliable narrators, that Montressor is not being entirely honest in his confession, or that the slight is entirely in Montressor's imagination. Whatever Fortunato has done, Montressor's sense of family honor demands that he avenge himself. His family crest perfectly illustrates this, as it is a serpent with its fangs buried in the heel of the very foot which crushes it, with the Latin motto, "nemo me impune lacessit": no one may attack me with impunity. In other words, no one insults me and gets away with it!

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Why does Montresor kill Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

You know, it never really says.  In "The Cask of Amontillado" all we know is that Montresor has some sort of gripe with Fortunato and wants to see the man dead.  Not only that, he wants to see him dead bad enough that he invents an elaborate scenario in which to entomb him behind a wall forever.

The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.

We don't know what the insult was that made Montresor so angry, but oddly enough, it doesn't really matter.  The heart of the story is that this nobleman was so insulted by it that he wants to kill someone he considers a friend. And to entomb him behind a wall, where he will slowly starve to death and degenerate into madness?  What could a friend (or an enemy, for that matter) do to you that would make you act in such a way?

Fortunato doesn't seem to suspect anything, either, willingly going into the catacombs with him.  So whatever Fortunato does, he must not realize he has done it, as he does not seem suspicious that foul play is afoot.

Poe seems to do this a lot...think of "Tell Tale Heart."  The only reason given for why the guy in that story wants to kill the old man is because he has a gross eye.  Otherwise, he likes the old man.  My point is that Poe seems less concerned with the specifics causing a lot of his stories and more concerned with a dramatic outcome.

Here's kind of a cool picture from the scene: HERE.

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why does Montresor feel as though he has the right to take matters into his own hands and kill Fortunato?

Montresor is acting on an old Italian belief that revenge is an acceptable practice, even if the process of revenge includes the murder of the offending party.  So Montresor's actions against Fortunato are perfectly acceptable in Italian society in this period.  

Montresor is the offended party, Fortunato is the offender, the revenge is required and necessary so that Montresor's family name can be restored and his dead ancestors can once again rest in peace. 

At the end of the story, he utters "rest in peace,"  meaning that once Fortunato has been punished his task is done.  His relatives can return to their eternal slumber.  

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why does Montresor feel as though he has the right to take matters into his own hands and kill Fortunato?

The crimes of Fortunato are no against society but social crimes against Montresor himself. Therefore, there is no other remedy available to Montresor other than forgiveness. Given the motto of his family, "no one injures me without impunity", forgiveness is not an option Montresor considers. The clue to this is in the first line of the story, "A thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge." In those lines, Montresor reveals that Fortunato has "injured him", probably by unkind remarks about his family and its place in society, many times. Montresor says he has remained quiet but Fortunato eventually insulted him and/or his family. Since Montresor is not one who takes an insult lightly, as witnessed by his family's coat of arms, he decides to take revenge.

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why did he want to kill Fortunato?

You might be getting the names mixed up; "Amontillado" is the name of the fine wine that the two main characters are going down under the city to fetch.  The two main characters are Fortunado (the unfortunate victim), and Montresor (the narrator who does the killing).  Right in the very beginning of the story, Montresor states his reasons for wanting to kill Fortunado:  "THE THOUSAND INJURIES of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge."

We don't know many of the details, but apparently Fortunado had heaped "thousands" of injuries upon the narrator, and horror of horrors, had actually had the audacity to "insult" him.  This prompts Montresor to seek his revenge.  Because we don't know the details, we are left to wonder what in the world could have been so bad to prompt Montresor to the twisted kind of revenge that he finally succeeds with.  So, repeated injury and insult were the reasons he wanted to harm Fortunado.

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," what are some obvious reasons that Montresor would kill Fortunato?

There is no way to know the insult because Montresor never says what it is. Personally, I think that Poe left it up in the air because he wanted us to use our imaginations in the matter.  I don’t think it was an important thing, because Fortunado does not remember.

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," what are some obvious reasons that Montresor would kill Fortunato?

Be less focused on the "answer" and more focused on justifying the rationale leading to an answer. A number of answers can work if the omnipresent symbolism is heeded and its parts aggregated. Specifically, when analyzing the significance of a symbol, be sure to exhaust everything about it. For example, Montressor put on a "black silk" mask as he was leading Fortunado into the catacombs. At one point in time, executioners would wear these masks before beheading a criminal. Discover what time frame this type of execution was done in and what types of crimes permitted beheading by a masked executioner, thus significantly narrowing the possible "crimes" Fortunado committed against Montressor. Next, examine Christ's "crimes" that ultimately led to his death and move on to exploring other possible symbols. The reader can repeat this process indefinetly (or at least until all symbols are exhausted), closely analyzing and fitting evidence together much like a police detective would do to a crime scene.

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," what are some obvious reasons that Montresor would kill Fortunato?

This is a good question for the discussion board since it is a subjective one.

I think this question is subjective and depending on who you ask, you will get all sorts of answers.  I do not believe there are any justifiable reasons for Montresor's murder of Fortunato; however, in Montresor's mind, reasons for murdering Fortunato might include insulting Montresor's family or upbringing, mocking him for some reason, or questioning his knowledge or education.  We do not know what Fortunato supposedly did to Montesor to prompt him to want to murder him; in my opinion, nothing he could have done justified his murder.

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," what are some obvious reasons that Montresor would kill Fortunato?

The reason for his actions that Montressor offers the reader is that Fortunato insulted him in some way.  Although the nature of the offense is never disclosed, apparently Montressor believes that it is reason enough to kill him.  Hints about what is to happen are when Montressor talks about his family crest, the foot stepping on a serpent which is in turn biting the foot, and when he mentions that his family motto is "No one insults me with impunity (freedom from punishment)".  Both foreshadow that Montressor intends to take vengeance for the insult.

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Does Montresor have a just cause to hate Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

We have no evidence that Montresor has sufficient justification for the level of his intense hatred of Fortunato. First, Montresor is not specific about what Fortunato has done to earn his loathing. All he states, in the first sentence of the story, is:

The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.

We get a clue in the story that Fortunato thinks himself superior to Montresor. Fortunato is a mason—he belongs to the Society of Freemasons—and is very surprised when Montresor says he is a mason too. Fortunato responds:

You? Impossible! A mason?

This could be interpreted as a snobbish response, showing that Fortunato doesn't believe Montresor is worthy of being part of the same organization he belongs to. (Montresor, in fact, is not a Freemason. He is making a pun on the word mason: he means he will soon be a wallbuilder, walling in Fortunato.)

We can see why Montresor might be irritated at a person who takes such a superior attitude to him and acts as if he is the better person. However, nothing Montresor tells us or that Fortunato does can lead us to conclude Montresor is justified in cruelly walling him into a cold, damp catacomb to slowly starve to death. It is hard to imagine what Fortunato could possibly have done to warrant such a response. This leads us to conclude that Montresor is mentally unbalanced rather than that Fortunato is deserving of his fate.

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato?

In the first line of the story, the narrator vows revenge on Fortunato because he claims he had insulted him in the past.

The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had bourne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.

However, he doesn't really say how Fortunato had insulted him, and he even refers to him throughout as "my friend." Fortunato seems to be completely unaware of any bad blood between them. The only clues Montresor gives as possible offenses are his family emblem and the suggestion of a possible disbarment from the masons.

Montresor's family motto, for example, underneath a picture of a foot crushing a serpent, is "Nemo me impune lacessit," meaning, "no one attacks me with impunity." This could suggest that the attack was not on Montresor personally but on someone in his family, or even on his family as a whole. After all, he doesn't seem that comfortable in confronting Fortunato about what happened. It is almost as if he didn't experience it firsthand.

Finally, there is a strange exchange between them about the masons. After Montresor, perhaps jokingly, states he is a mason, Fortunato says, "You? Impossible! A mason," leaving the reader to wonder why Fortunato thinks it is impossible, particularly if Montresor is from a good family. Maybe Fortunato blocked his membership in the society.

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato?

Clearly, the specific reasons why Montresor feels that Fortunato has injured and finally insulted him are not stated in the story. We only know that Montresor has taken great offense and has created a diabolical plan to gain revenge. The story does contain some clues as to Montresor's personality and family history that no doubt played a role in his anger and actions.

Some casual and sarcastic comments to Fortunato suggest that Montresor feels great jealousy toward him and resents his standing and success. We also learn that the coat of arms for the Montresor family reads as follows: Nemo me impune lacessit ["No one insults me with impunity."] Montresor, then, comes from a family heritage that embraces both pride and payback. They seem to have been people who were perhaps quick to take offense against perceived slights. If so, and if Montresor inherited this family nature and philosophy, then perhaps poor Fortunato was not guilty of much of anything, except in Montresor's mind.

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato?

The answer to this question can be found in the first few lines of the story itself, and more fully fleshed out with a little bit of inference, or guessing.  Montresor opens the story by stating that he had planned revenge, and he stated that he was upset at Fortunado for two main reasons.  He states:

"THE THOUSAND INJURIES of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge."

So, here he states two reasons:  1.  "Thousand injuries," and 2.  "insult".  So, apparently, Fortunado had inflicted thousands of injuries upon Montresor.  He probably doesn't mean literal physical injuries, probably more injuries to his pride, teasing, taunting, mocking, things of that sort.  So, for some reason that is not clear nor stated in the text, Montresor felt that Fortunado had slighted and injured him over and over again.  We don't know exactly what he did, but can guess that Fortunado probably just made Montresor feel offended or slighted--whether intentionally or simply from being clueless.  The second reason, insult, was probably a more direct insult directed at Montresor, but, they two seem like pretty good pals when the meet to discuss the wine, so Fortunado can't hold too much of a grudge against him.  But, Montresor feels insulted nevertheless, and vows revenge.

The revenge he enacts is cruel and vicious indeed, and one has to wonder whether or not the bumbling Fortunado actually deserved it.  I hope that those thoughts help a bit; good luck!

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato?

Edgar Allan Poe's chilling short story "The Cask of Amontillado" is a tale of retribution. In the outset, the first person narrator Montresor vows revenge against his supposed friend Fortunato over some "insult." The affront, which must have been significant, is never revealed. It is, however, egregious enough for Montresor to devise a devious and horrible plan to lure Fortunato into the catacombs below his estate with the pretense that he wishes to have Fortunato's opinion about a bottle of rare wine. While in the underground chamber, Montresor chains Fortunato to the catacomb and proceeds to wall him in with brick and mortar. There are two important elements to Montresor's plan. First, it must be well known to Fortunato that Montresor is the one bringing about his demise. Second, Montresor sets up his plan so he will never be apprehended for the crime. Fortunato simply disappears. Some critics believe Montresor is telling his story to a priest at the end of his life, revealing a certain amount of remorse on Montresor's part. Whatever the reality, the reader is never made aware of the exact motive which prompted Montresor to kill Fortunato in such a ghastly way.     

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why does Montresor make sure Fortunato has drunk a lot of wine?

Montresor understands Fortunato's weakness, which is the connoisseurship of wine, and uses his weakness against him when he initially meets his enemy during the carnival. When Montresor befriends Fortunato, he has been drinking excessively throughout the day and is visibly intoxicated. After Montresor explains to Fortunato that he has purchased a pipe of Amontillado to lure him into his family's catacombs, the intoxicated Fortunato follows Montresor's lead.

When the two men enter the vaults of Montresor's palazzo, Montresor continually offers Fortunato Medoc and De Grave wine, which he proceeds to drink quickly as he travels towards the apparent pipe of Amontillado. Montresor offers Fortunato wine while they are inside the catacombs to make sure he remains intoxicated. Montresor is aware that alcohol severely impairs judgment and desires to catch Fortunato off guard once they reach the end of the vaults.

By making Fortunato drink wine, Montresor ensures that his enemy is intoxicated, which gives him the upper hand. When they reach the niche in the back wall with the shackles attached to it, the drunk Fortunato is defenseless and cannot prevent Montresor from restraining him.

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato?

Montresor makes sure that Fortunato is drunk so that there is no chance that Fortunato will be able to foresee or prevent Montresor from carrying out his vicious plan for revenge.

As the pair travel farther and farther underground into the Montresor family catacombs, there are many opportunities for Fortunato to begin to suspect that all is not as it seems. For example, why on earth would Montresor store the amontillado he claims to have purchased so deeply into the vault? This would make it incredibly difficult to access. Or, again, why would Montresor be concealing a trowel—a brick-layer's tool—beneath the folds of his carnival costume? However, Fortunato doesn't realize the strangeness of either circumstance, because is drunk even before they descend into the vaults and grows even drunker as Montresor plies him with wine as they travel. This likely prevents him from realizing that he is putting himself into a strange situation with a man he has insulted, apparently a great many times.

Montresor, in the end, is able to chain Fortunato to the wall before Fortunato realizes what is going on, as all of the wine he has consumed has left his body and his brain sluggish. We can assume that this was likely Montresor's intention.

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato?

Fortunato has to be drunk in order for Montresor to be able to deceive and manipulate him. Montresor has a big problem luring this man to his home, down into his wine vaults, and along a winding route through catacombs to the niche with the chains. Montresor wants to keep his victim drunk so that Fortunato won't have his wits about him. Montresor doesn't want Fortunato asking questions about the nonexistent Amontillado, such as where he bought it and how much he paid for it. He doesn't want Fortunato wondering why the pipe of Amontillado has been placed so far away from the bottom of the staircase. It is easy to get a drunken man to drink more. Fortunato remains drunk until he finds himself chained to the granite wall. Then the shock causes him to sober up. Montresor specified at the beginning of his narrative that he wanted his victim to be aware of what was happening to him and who was responsible. When Fortunato cries, "For the love of God, Montresor!" this serves as proof that he knows the identity of the man who is "redressing" the "wrong."

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato?

Montresor is the narrator and primary character in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado." Montresor feels as if he has been insulted beyond endurance by Fortunato, and he is going to take advantage of the Carnival season to pursue his revenge.

Montresor manages to lure Fortunato to his home, but the burial vault (what Fortunato thinks will be the wine cellar) is damp and Fortunato has a cough. Before they descend the stairs, Montresor offers his guest/victim a glass of Medoc (wine). 

"A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps."

Here I [Montresor] knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row of its fellows that lay upon the mould.

"Drink," I said, presenting him the wine.

He raised it to his lips with a leer. He paused and nodded to me familiarly, while his bells jingled.

"I drink," he said, "to the buried that repose around us."

"And I to your long life."

I can see three reasons for Montresor's offering a drink to Fortunato. The first is the one Montresor suggests, that he does not want Fortunato to succumb to the dampness. This is not a kind gesture, as it seems to Fortunato, but insurance that his victim will not die before Montresor has a chance to kill him. 

The second is the opportunity for Montresor to enjoy a satisfying moment of irony. He gleefully makes a toast to Fortunato's long life, knowing full well that Fortunato has only a short time to live. 

Finally, it serves as an enticement for Fortunato to continue following Montresor. It is a long way to their destination, and Montresor uses the wine as an incentive for the doomed man to keep walking, despite his cough and the dampness of the vaults. 

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato?

Montresor, the narrator, seeks revenge on Fortunato because he feels that Fortunato has insulted him.  He says, in the first line, "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge."  Thus, Montresor seems to feel that Fortunato has wounded his honor a great many times, and when Fortunato finally insults him, he can no longer stand by and take it any more.

Further, Montresor's family motto is "Nemo me impune lacessit," which means No one harms me with impunity, and his family arms show a human foot stepping on a snake which is, in turn, biting the foot.  It seems that it isn't just Montresor's personal honor that Fortunato has wounded, but also Montresor's sense of family honor, since this family prides itself on avenging any crimes done to it.  So, in order not to dishonor either himself or his family, Montresor seems to feel that he must exact revenge on Fortunato for whatever "injuries" and "insult[s]" Montresor has inflicted on him.

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato?

Montresor's plan to enact his revenge against Fortunato makes use of his wine cellar as the scene of the murder.  To lure Fortunato away from the crowds gathered for Carnival, Montresor claims to have what he thinks is a bottle of amontillado, a Spanish sherry, hidden away in the depths beneath his ancestral home.  Montresor claims to be uncertain about whether or not it is really amontillado to pique Fortunato's interest because he knows that Fortunato is proud of "his connoisseurship in wine" and will want to taste it.  As they descend the many steps among the catacombs, Montresor keeps plying Fortunato with wine, knowing that when he becomes intoxicated he will be easier to overpower and entomb.  Fortunato's interest in wine, therefore, is the lever that Montresor is able to use against him.

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What motivates Montresor to kill Fortunato in The Cask of Amontillado?

At the beginning of the story, Montresor mentions that he had suffered a thousand injuries from Fortunato and had heard that Fortunato laughed at his honorable family name. It is unclear what the "thousand injuries" may have been, but the reader understands that Montresor has pride in his lineage and takes offense to Fortunato's insult regarding his family's name. Montresor makes it clear to the reader that he will eventually get his revenge for Fortunato's disrespect. Throughout the story, Fortunato is depicted as a rather arrogant, prideful man, who is respected and feared throughout his community. However, Montresor is acutely aware of Fortunato's weaknesses and is able to manipulate Fortunato into following him down into his family's catacombs. The unarmed Fortunato is caught off guard once Montresor shackles his arms and begins building a wall of stone behind him. True to his family's motto, Montresor gets his revenge by burying Fortunato alive. 

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What motivates Montresor to kill Fortunato in The Cask of Amontillado?

In "The Cask of Amontillado," by Edgar Allan Poe, Montresor's motivation for killing Fortunato is simple: he was insulted. In the opening line of the story, Montresor (narrator) explains that he suffered through many hurts imposed by Fortunato, but would not put up with an insult: "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borned as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge," (1).

It is unclear what the insult was regarding, but one might guess it had something to do with familial protection, as family seems important to Montresor, (illustrated in his discussion of his family's coat of arms); or it may have to do with wine connoisseurship as both men seem to pride themselves on this skill; "I was skillful in the Italian vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I could," (2).

Interestingly, the family motto of Montresor is "Nemo me impune lacessit," meaning "No one attacks me with impunity." This implies that members of the Montresor family do not allow anyone to hurt them and then get away with it. However, Montresor's plan to wall Fortunato up inside the catacombs without anyone ever knowing about it is an illustration of exactly that. In fact, Montresor is never punished for his deed because he's never found out: "For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed [his bones]," (6).

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What motivates Montresor to kill Fortunato in The Cask of Amontillado?

While the story contains no explicit mention of a motive, it may be gleaned somewhat from the narrator's choice of words and the dialogue. Montresor's motivation is complicated. It has to do not so much with murdering Fortunato specifically as somehow avenging the decline of his family name and prestige. Our narrator is a deeply insecure man. These insecurities manifest themselves as a desperate need for decisive, bold action, namely murdering Fortunato.

As to the catalytic insult which triggered this whole thing? It most likely was something similar to the conversation the two characters had on their way through the wine vaults:

"The Montresors," I replied, "were a great and numerous family."

"I forget your arms."

Note that Montresor says they were "a great and numerous family." This implies the family has since dwindled and become less important. Montresor may logically feel ashamed or insecure about this, and thus he feels stung by Fortunato's lack of knowledge (or respect for) his family's importance. Fortunato does not know the family's arms or motto and does not seem to revere the Montresor name as Montresor thinks he should. Montresor resents Fortunato's arrogance and reads it as an insult to his entire existence—his name and family history. 

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What motivates Montresor to kill Fortunato in The Cask of Amontillado?

In Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Cask of Amontillado," Montresor wants to kill Fortunato in order to seek vengeance for the "insult" that Fortunato has dealt him. What exactly this insult entails, we do not know; Poe never tells us the specifics of the grievance; we only know that it comes after a "thousand injuries" dealt by Fortunato. 

Montresor then decides that he must punish Fortunato "with impunity." He lures Fortunato to his family's cellar with the promise of letting him taste his pipe of Amontillado. The already drunk Fortunato agrees, and, when they arrive, Montresor supplies Fortunato with more alcohol. At this point, he paves the inebriated man into an alcove, effectively sealing him into a suffocating, tiny tomb and leaving him there to die.

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What does Montresor think has been done to him that leads him to exact revenge upon Fortunato?

The motive for revenge in the short story, “The Cask of Amontillado” is simple insanity. The reader who is looking for a specific cause will find there is really nothing specific indicated beyond Montresor’s madness. He says in the beginning, “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had born as best I could.” This is the only reference. However, there are plenty of relevant clues to his madness: “It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season;” the unmerciful way in which he torments Fortunato; pure evil of his plan; the way he mocks Fortunato’s last moments; and the relish with which he tells the tale after 50 years.

Enotes has some great resource material.

http://www.enotes.com/cask-amontillado

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Why does Montresor hate Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

In "The Cask of Amontillado," we are never given a real reason as to why Montresor hates Fortunato. Montresor seems like a person who has no conscience and cares little about what he does to other people. He is just bent on revenge and takes all the necessary precautions to make sure he gets his revenge on Fortunato.

"The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventrued upon insult, I vowed revenge."

This statement is the only clue we are given about what Montresor feels towards Fortunato. The only thing we know is that there are certain injuries that Montresor feels Fortunato has done to him. It is quite obvious that Montresor is mentally not stable. What is even more disconcerting is the fact that he is confessing to someone what he has done, and that whoever he is confessing to knows all about the problems Montresor has. It is implied within the short story that Montresor has gotten away with this kind of thing before, and he will more than likely get away with it again.

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Why does Montresor hate Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

This is a question that has puzzled readers of Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Cask of Amontillado," ever since its publication. It is likely that Poe deliberately did not give more information or a specific reason about the relationship between the two characters, probably to maintain the mystery that surrounds the two men. We know that the two, Fortunato and Montresor, are acquaintances, and that they come from old, wealthy families. As for Montresor's hatred, we are only given two hints: We know, from the first line of the story, that

THE THOUSAND INJURIES of Fortunato I had borne as I best could...

The injuries are never explained by Montresor, and there is no further mention of them in the story. We also know that

... when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.

Again, the specific insult is never identified, but judging from Montresor's decision to kill Fortunato for the offense, it must have been fairly serious.

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Why does Montresor hate Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

At the beginning of the short story, Montresor mentions that Fortunato has caused him a "thousand injuries" and insulted his family's prestigious name. Interestingly, Montresor does not elaborate on how Fortunato harmed him a thousand times, but the reader can surmise that Fortunato verbally insulted Montresor publicly or offended his family's name after analyzing Fortunato's character. Montresor describes Fortunato as being respected and feared by his neighbors, friends, and associates. Montresor also characterizes Fortunato as a confident, arrogant man. Once Montresor persuades Fortunato to follow him into his catacombs, Fortunato mentions that the vaults are extensive. Montresor quickly reminds him that his family is "great" and "numerous" before elaborating on his family's coat of arms. Montresor's response reveals his pride in his family's name, which is further evidence that he seeks revenge because Fortunato has offended his family. Overall, Montresor does not directly address why he hates Fortunato, but one can surmise that his hate stems from Fortunato publicly insulting his family's name or verbally abusing him.

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Why does Montresor hate Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

The short answer is, we don't really know.

The somewhat longer answer is, we only get sweeping generalities at the start of the story, and then a few times later. We know he says Fortunato had done him a "thousand injuries," but we don't learn what they are. We know he sees Fortunato as having insulted him--but we don't know what the insult is, and Fortunato seems to think they are on good terms. Therefore, we'll have to say that Montressor's insane pride was hurt, and that's all we know.

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Why does Montresor hate Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Fortunato may not really believe that Montresor is playing a joke on him when he chains him to the rock wall and begins to wall him in. Montresor says that Fortunato is a man to be respected and even feared. In desperation, Fortunato may be trying to implant some doubt in Montresor's mind and at the same time may be giving him an excuse to relent and release him. Fortunato says that this entrapment is an excellent jest but asks if they shouldn't be going because Lady Fortunato and his guests are expecting them. If Montresor thought that Fortunato would be missed that very night, he might be afraid of a search party tracking Fortunato to his (Montresor's) palazzo or at least establishing that Fortunato was with Montresor when last seen. Fortunato wants Montresor to believe that people in the crowded streets have recognized them both and assumed they were both headed for Fortunato's palazzo, where a big party was in progress. But Montresor had taken the precaution of establishing that Fortunato had no "engagement," was not expected anywhere, when he first encountered him.So Fortunato's ploy does not succeed. However, Fortunato shows that he is sober, that he is clever, and that he is a man to be respected and even feared. If he ever got out of those chains he would show Montresor that he knew it was no jest but attempted murder. He might report Montresor to the authorities, but more likely he would have taken his private vengeance by having Montresor killed.

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Why does Montresor hate Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Quite simply--no, Fortunato does not understand why Montresor hates him. In fact, he does not even realize that Montresor dislikes him or intends to harm him. If he had known Montresor's true feelings, he would most likely have never accompanied Montresor into a secluded area. Similarly, when the effects of Fortunato's intoxication have worn off, he still believes that Montresor's encasing him in the wall is a joke. Even when Fortunato is able to utter his last words,

“For the love of God, Montresor!”

Poe implies that Fortunato is begging Montresor to end the prank. His words do not indicate that he has realized Montresor's true feelings for him or understands the motivation behind the narrator's actions.

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Why does Montresor hate Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

The first paragraph of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" explains exactly why the narrator of the story (we learn later that it is Montresor) is so intent on killing Fortunato. It is not a particularly detailed explanation, and we are immediately struck by how little information Montresor actually gives us. 

THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. AT LENGTH I would be avenged; this was a point definitively settled -- but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.

Looking at this explanation closely does not help much, but we do learn a few things. First, the narrator believes he has been "injured" by Fortunato at least a thousand times. Secondly, none of these so-called injuries has ever risen to the level of an "insult" until now. That is it. No more. The rest of the paragraph indicates that Montresor intends to get revenge. The best revenge, he says, can only happen if Fortunato feels as "injured" as Montresor feels and if Montresor is never caught or punished for the revenge he takes. 

As the story unfolds, it is interesting to note that Fortunato does not appear to have any kind of bad feelings about Montresor, nor does he seem to suspect that Montresor has any kind of nefarious plans against him. It is interesting to consider, then, whether Montresor really accomplishes his goal of "mak[ing] himself felt" by Fortunato, even at the end of the story.

One more thing to consider is whether or not Montresor is a reliable narrator. In other words, are the things he says true or are they the rather delusional beliefs of a rather deranged man? If the latter is true, Fortunato may have done absolutely nothing to deserve the fate Montresor delivers him. 

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Why does Montresor hate Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor wants revenge against Fortunato for some imaginary insult.

It is important to remember that Montresor does not have a real reason for killing Fortunato.  Montresor is a madman, and the reasons he wants to kill Fortunato are all imaginary.  Poe makes sure that we realize this with his very first sentence.

The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged …

The hyperbole is our first clue.  A thousand injuries?  Really?  Isn’t that a little extreme?  You can’t really do a thousand terrible things to a person, especially without him noticing.  Montresor probably imagines these, or turns minor slights and insults into crimes worthy of prosecution.

Montresor wants to not get caught.  He explains that he has to get away with the murder, or he will not really be avenged.  Since the telling of the story is fifty years after the event, he must have succeeded.

Another reason that we know that Fortunato did not really do something terrible enough to Montresor to justify being killed is that he agrees to go with Montresor into the catacombs.  If you had wronged a person in some terrible way, you would not go underground with him at night without witnesses.

Montresor is able to easily convince Fortunato to go into the catacombs with him by telling him he has a cask of valuable Amontillado wine that he needs his opinion of.  When he offers to show it to Luchesi instead, Fortunato protests.

“Come, let us go."

"Whither?"

"To your vaults."

"My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Luchresi--"

"I have no engagement; --come."

Montresor makes other arguments that he should not go, such as the fact that it will not be good for his cold, but Fortunato insists.  He willingly goes underground with Montresor because he does not know that the man is his enemy.

If Fortunato had really done something to Montresor, it would be a very different story.  This one is the tale of a crazy guy killing another guy for no reason.  He is a psychopath, because he believes that he is right.  Montresor really thinks that Fortunato deserves to die and has no problem with killing him as long as he gets away with it.

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Why does Montresor hate Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

The text is being narrated by Montresor himself, but the reader does not realize that until toward the end of the story.  Sadly though, Montresor never gives the reader any specifics about why he does not like Fortunato.  The opening lines of the story indicate that the two men are more than mere acquaintances.

THE THOUSAND INJURIES of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, . . .

A "thousand injuries" is likely hyperbole, but only using 10% of that number is 100.  I have never been injured in any way 100 times by a mere acquaintance.  When the men meet during the festival, Montresor greets Fortunato in a very friendly manner, so it's clear that Fortunato doesn't consider Montresor an enemy.  

I said to him—“My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day. But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts.”

Going back to the opening line, Montresor admits his reason for wanting to kill Fortunato.  

THE THOUSAND INJURIES of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.

Montresor apparently doesn't have any problems with being hurt 1000 times, but he takes grave offense to being insulted a single time.  That's why Montresor doesn't like Fortunato.  The reader never finds out what the insult was though.   

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Why does Montresor hate Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

I do not think that Montresor hates Fortunato.  I have never gotten the feeling that Montresor feels much of anything.  I believe that Montresor is or is very close to being a full blown psychopath.  

Psychopaths, on the other hand, are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. . . When committing crimes, psychopaths carefully plan out every detail in advance and often have contingency plans in place. Unlike their sociopathic counterparts, psychopathic criminals are cool, calm, and meticulous. Their crimes, whether violent or non-violent, will be highly organized and generally offer few clues for authorities to pursue.

The above description from Psychology Today describes Montresor to near perfection.  He's cold, calculating, and emotionally void while luring Fortunato to his death.  He also feels zero remorse after the deed has been done.  

Poe and/or Montresor never gives an exact reason for why Montresor wants to kill Fortunato.  The closest the reader gets to a reason is stated in the first sentence.  

THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.

Montresor is likely using hyperbole to describe Fortunato.  It's not likely that Fortunato hurt Montresor 1000 times.  Despite that though, Montresor doesn't have a problem with it.  But when Fortunato insulted Montresor one time, that was enough to push him to seek revenge.  The insult doesn't seem to have sparked anger or hate.  The insult seems to be the final wrong that deserves to be punished . . . by death. 

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Does Montresor kill Fortunato for reasons other than revenge in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

It could be contended that Montresor has other motives for wanting to kill Fortunato besides revenge. The following is the third paragraph of Poe’s story quoted in full.

He had a weak point -- this Fortunato -- although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine. Few Italians have the true virtuoso spirit. For the most part their enthusiasm is adopted to suit the time and opportunity to practise imposture upon the British and Austrian MILLIONAIRES. In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack, but in the matter of old wines he was sincere. In this respect I did not differ from him materially; I was skilful in the Italian vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I could.

This may suggest that both Montresor and Fortunato, though aristocrats, earn money in the ancient, decaying city of Venice by dealing in expensive items such as oil paintings, jewelry, antiques, and gourmet wines. They are competitors, and Fortunato’s much-discussed “thousand injuries” may have all been injuries in business dealings. For example, Fortunato may have outbid Montresor for an oil painting and then sold it to a British or Austrian millionaire at a handsome profit. Fortunato is well connected and far more likely than Montresor to know about impoverished upper-class Italians needing to sell off family treasures in order to survive, as well as being more likely to encounter wealthy foreigners able to pay cash for them. So Montresor may be hiding from himself the knowledge that in disposing of Fortunato he would be eliminating his chief competitor.

Montresor is telling his story fifty years after the fact. During that half-century he may have enjoyed a prosperity that was denied him while his friendly enemy Fortunato was alive. We might detect a certain smug complacency in Montresor’s narrative. We might even imagine him enjoying a glass of genuine Amontillado while remembering his successful crime. Fortunato had outsmarted him many times while he was alive, but Montresor outsmarted him on that one memorable evening at the height of the carnival.

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Does Montresor kill Fortunato for reasons other than revenge in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor is clearly acting with malice aforethought; he has taken steps in advance to set up an elaborate plan for Fortunato's death. However, since he is telling the story, and since he is an unreliable narrator, the reader has only his word that he is committing a justifiable act.

A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.
(Poe, "The Cask of Amontillado," eNotes eText)

In other words, he plans for Fortunato's death in a way that cannot come back to harm him. This shows a very logical and detail-oriented mind, not one to commit murder for passion or on impulse. While it is certainly possible that there was no reason for the murder aside from revenge, there is also no evidence that Montresor is lying; the murder has been undiscovered for fifty years, and in retelling the events he has no reason to make up a story. He cannot be punished now, and so he has little reason to be anything but truthful; the story is, in essence, a boast, and so Montresor would take greater pride in telling the truth.

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