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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Discussion Topic

Montresor's motives and plans for revenge against Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado."

Summary:

Montresor's motives for revenge against Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado" stem from perceived insults and injuries inflicted by Fortunato. Montresor meticulously plans his revenge to ensure it is both thorough and undetected, ultimately leading Fortunato into the catacombs under the guise of tasting a rare wine, where he walls him up alive.

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What motivates Montresor's crime against Fortunato in The Cask of Amontillado?

Montresor begins the story by saying, "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge."  Montresor employs a figure of speech called hyperbole, also referred to as overstatement, to emphasize just how incredibly offended and insulted he felt by Fortunato.  It is unlikely that Fortunato had actually injured him a "thousand" times, but Montresor felt as though he had.  This, in part, motivates his need for revenge.

Further, Montresor says that his family motto is "Nemo me impune lacessit," which translates to "You will not harm me with impunity."  This means that no one can harm a Montresor without being punished or repaid for it.  Thus, if Montresor believes that he has been harmed by Fortunato, his family pride will not permit him to allow it to go unavenged.  He clearly possesses such a sense of family pride, as he states that "The Montresors were a great and numerous family."

Therefore, what motivates him to him to seek revenge on Fortunato is a mixture of wounded personal pride and family honor. 

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What act could have prompted Montresor's revenge in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

I think it was something silly and simple.  i also do not think they were really friends.  It seems like Fortunado has higher social standing.  He is a Mason and Montresor is not.  So perhaps he just did not invite Montresor to a party.

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What act could have prompted Montresor's revenge in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

One would think that Fortunato would have had to do something very bad to Montresor to cause him to resort to murder; however, I have always believed that Fortunato probably did no great harm to Montresor.  Perhaps Montresor was jealous of Fortunato for some reason.  Also, it is obvious that Montresor is mentally unstable due to the great care he took to carry out his devious plan.  Because he is highly unstable, I would tend to believe it might not take much provocation to cause him to commit murder.

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What act could have prompted Montresor's revenge in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

That's a good question.  Personally, I'm not sure there is anything that qualifies for such an abominable act of revenge.  Perhaps, in Montresor's mind, Fortunato had shown him up one time too many.  Maybe in the area of wine in which they both were known to be experts.

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What circumstances might have led Montresor to reveal the story of "The Cask of Amontillado"?

One of the most commonly accepted interpretations of this question is that Montresor is facing his own death.  There are many hints to this, both at the beginning and the end.  Keep in mind, before I give the clues, that Montresor is an adult man when the scene with Fortunato occurs - adult enough to be master on his own home and servants.

Already an adult, Montresor tells us in the last paragraph, that the event he has described came 50 years before:

For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!

This would make Montresor somewhere between 75 and 100 years old - perhaps sick and facing his own death and needing to tell his story.

Now understanding how old he is, we go back over the story and find that Montresor was addressing someone who knew his soul:

"you who so well know the nature of my soul"

Typically, the soul is the purvey of a religious scholar.  The assumption is that Montresor, facing death, is confessing either to a priest or to God directly in the hopes of absolving himself of his sin before he passes on.

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How does Montresor plan his revenge in The Cask of Amontillado?

Montresor carefully plans his revenge by behaving amiably towards Fortunato and treating him kindly in order to avoid suspicion and earn his trust. Montresor also chooses an advantageous time during the carnival season to commit his crime, knowing that Fortunato will have his guard down and others will be less likely to disrupt his plan for revenge. Montresor also knows that Fortunato is excessively prideful and considers himself a connoisseur of fine wines. Montresor proceeds to bait and manipulate Fortunato by mentioning that he has a pipe of Amontillado but is not sure of its authenticity. Knowing that Fortunato will volunteer to confirm its authenticity, Montresor invites him to his family's vaults to taste the wine.

Montresor also mentions that he previously told his servants that he would be out of town, knowing that they would neglect their duties and leave his palazzo. As Fortunato follows Montresor deep into the catacombs, Montresor acts like he is concerned about Fortunato's health, which motivates the prideful Fortunato to continue his journey. Montresor also offers Fortunato several different types of wine while in the vaults, which further inebriates his victim. When the two men have traveled deep into the catacombs, Montresor quickly shackles the unsuspecting Fortunato and buries him alive in the catacombs, where he remains undiscovered. Montresor is also careful to not disclose his crime until fifty years after the murder.

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How does Montresor plan his revenge in The Cask of Amontillado?

Montresor carefully plans out his revenge against Fortunato. He chooses Carnival as the time to carry out the murder because he knows people will be drinking and having fun. He makes sure his servants will not be in the house, so no one will see Fortunato coming into his house. Montresor knows Fortunato is egotistical when it comes to judging good wine, so Montresor tempts him with the story of buying a cask of Amontillado. Once Montresor has lured Fortunato away, he is so nice to him, pretending to worry about his health so Fortunato won't suspect anything. He encourages Fortunato to drink as they walk through the catacombs so it will be easy to chain him to the wall. Building the brick wall insures that no one will find Fortunato even if anyone suspects that Montresor might be involved. There truly is a method to Montresor's madness because he's telling his story fifty years later, and he never gets caught.

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How does Montresor plan his revenge in The Cask of Amontillado?

Yes, Montresor achieves exactly the kind of revenge he wants. He explains what he wants in the opening paragraph of the story, and by the end of the story he appears to be fully satisfied with what he has done. In the opening paragraph he states:

At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitely settled--but the very definiteness 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.

In more simple language, he wants to kill Fortunato without getting caught. The word "impunity" suggests that he wants to feel completely safe not only from exposure but even from the slightest suspicion of being guilty of the crime. He also wants his victim to be sure that it is he, Montresor, who is responsible for his victim's murder. In other words, he doesn't want to do something like sending Fortunato a bottle of poisoned wine or hiring some assassin to kill Fortunato in a dark alley. Montresor wants to do the deed himself with impunity and have Fortunato--but only Fortunato--aware that he is killing him for revenge.

Montresor has a lot of problems achieving his perfect revenge, and his coping with all his problems is the essence of the story. He lures Fortunato down into the catacombs and chains him to the granite wall. He manages to do this without being recognized by anyone in the streets above. Fortunato was drunk when Montresor encountered him, and Montresor keeps him drunk until he has him in chains. Then Fortunato realizes he is in deep trouble and quickly sobers up. This was necessary for Montresor to be sure that Fortunato knows what is happening, why it is happening, and who is doing it. 

It is noteworthy that Fortunato never calls Montresor by name until he is chained to the granite wall. Then he cries:

"For the love of God, Montresor!”

“Yes,” I said, “for the love of God!”

Montresor says "Yes," because he now has proof that Fortunato recognizes him as his killer. Montresor adds, "...for the love of God!" because he is pleased to have his arrogant victim begging for mercy.

At the very end of the tale Montresor states:

Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!

The fact that no one has discovered the bones in fifty years proves that no one has ever discovered the wall or ever suspected what is behind it. Montresor has achieved his revenge with "impunity." The purpose of getting revenge was to rid himself of all the painful thoughts and feelings that made him want the revenge in the first place. Now that he is fully satisfied, he means it sincerely when he says, "In pace requiescat!" (Rest in peace.) The Latin words are meant to convey the idea to the reader that Montresor did achieve the kind of revenge he wanted and feels utterly cleansed of his hatred and rage.

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How does Montresor plan his revenge in The Cask of Amontillado?

In Poe's classic short story "The Cask of Amontillado," Montresor does not go into specific detail regarding the exact reason he decides to murder Fortunato by entombing him alive inside his family's vast catacombs. In the first paragraph of the story, Montresor mentions that Fortunato had caused him a "thousand injuries" and "ventured upon insult," which motivated him to take revenge. Although Montresor is being vague and ambiguous, the reader can infer that he is a proud man who is extremely sensitive and vengeful. As the story progresses, Montresor approaches Fortunato, who casually insults Luchesi without hesitation. Fortunato's arrogant demeanor and flippant insult suggest that he may have done the same to Montresor. If Fortunato is willing to slander Luchesi behind his back, it is likely that he did the same to Montresor.

There is also evidence to suggest that Fortunato may have undermined Montresor's business ventures. The reader is aware that Fortunato is a rich man, and a pipe is a rather large quantity of wine. When Montresor informs Fortunato that he has purchased a pipe of the extremely rare Amontillado, Fortunato jumps at his chance to authenticate the wine in hopes of purchasing more. Fortunato recognizes that Amontillado is extremely rare during the carnival season and hopes to take advantage of the situation. Fortunato can certainly afford the great quantity of wine and make a profit selling the Amontillado.

If Fortunato plans on authenticating the wine to purchase more of the Amontillado before the merchant ship departs, the theory that he previously undermined Montresor's business practices holds weight. Additionally, Montresor is no longer the wealthy man he once was and may blame Fortunato for his financial struggles. However, we can never be certain of Montresor's exact motivation based on such circumstantial evidence.

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How does Montresor plan his revenge in The Cask of Amontillado?

Montresor is very serious about the subject of revenge and views it as a moral obligation to right the wrongs suffered by one's enemy. Montresor's ideology concerning revenge corresponds to the motto written on his family's coat of arms, which reads, "Nemo me impune lacessit," or, "No one provokes me with impunity." Montresor also has a precise definition of revenge, which he describes in the first paragraph of the short story. Montresor mentions that, when exacting revenge, it is imperative that one "must not only punish but punish with impunity." He is essentially saying that it is necessary not only to punish one's enemy but also to do so without being caught or suffering the consequences of exacting revenge. Montresor goes on to say that an avenger will not feel satisfied unless the victim knows who is responsible for their punishment. After describing the ideal conditions involved in avenging one’s enemy, Montresor elaborates on how he committed the perfect crime by getting revenge on Fortunato. Montresor's calculating scheme and horrific crime emphasize the seriousness of his attitude toward revenge. Montresor's actions correspond to his definition perfectly, and Fortunato's fate is disturbing and shocking.

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How does Montresor plan his revenge in The Cask of Amontillado?

"The Cask of Amontillado" is all about Montresor's revenge: the terrible revenge he wreaks upon the hapless, misnamed Fortunato. We're never told exactly what Fortunato has done to Montresor that warranted being walled up alive inside the catacombs. But whatever it was, this unspecified insult has driven Montresor into a frenzy that can only be satisfied by some serious payback—the most terrible revenge you could possibly imagine.

In his warped imagination, Montresor feels that revenge is not just necessary, it is the right thing to do. Revenge is like a moral imperative for Montresor, something he simply has to do if he is to redress the "thousand injuries" that Fortunato has heaped upon him over the years. But if Monstresor's going to gain revenge, he needs to do it properly. That means making sure that he gets away with his crime. His elaborate revenge plot has clearly been carefully planned and worked out to the last detail. This is to ensure no one will ever suspect Montresor of having carried out this wicked, dastardly deed.

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How does Montresor plan his revenge in The Cask of Amontillado?

In "The Cask of Amontillado," Montresor never gives a specific reason as to why he wants revenge. Rather, all that he tells us is that he had some personal slight against Fortunato. He claims that Fortunato had wronged him, grievously in his own mind.

Furthermore, if we are to believe his own words, it is certainly implied that this grievance had grown over time. Consider the very first sentence which opens the story: Montresor tells us, "the thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge." This unstated "insult" which he claims Fortunato had visited upon him, whatever it might have been, seems like it was more than anything else, a final straw, pushing him past his breaking point. Whatever ill will he held against Fortunato, it held much deeper roots reaching back in time.

That's all we can really say with any certainty.

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How does Montresor plan his revenge in The Cask of Amontillado?

Poe doesn't specify exactly why Montresor wants revenge. All that we are told is that Fortunato insulted Montresor in some unspecified manner and has subjected his nemesis to a thousand injuries. In examining Montresor's motives we need to bear in mind that we only hear his side of the story. There could be all sorts of reasons why he would choose to exact such a terrible revenge: some trivial, some more serious. At the very least, there's no doubt that Montresor feels deeply hurt and offended by Fortunato and is itching to have his revenge. That he should choose to exact this revenge in such a grotesquely horrific fashion indicates that, for Montresor at least, this is a very serious matter indeed.

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Does Montresor explain why he wants to take revenge?

It is that he has no bona fide cause for revenge (one that he states) that makes this story so horrifying.  By not identifying the cause for revenge, we cannot dismiss it as unworthy or outside of our range of experience.  Instead, the revenge achieves a universality, a flaw of human character, or perhaps more aptly, a commonality of human emotion that Montressor works out for us that we, only in our unconscious, would dare to think about.  Poe often treats such taboo subjects that he considers fundamental to human experience but too awful for a person to lay claim to.  Indeed, in an essay on poetry he calls such horrific experiences and emotions "beautiful."

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Does Montresor explain why he wants to take revenge?

Unfortunately, the answer to your question is no. Montresor does not detail his reason for revenge other than to say that Fortunato had "done him a thousand injuries". He doesn't detail any single one, nor does he ever give any specific reason for his cruel revenge. It could be assumed that, as in many of Poe's tales, there is not actually any wrong deed done to lead to the horrible action, but there is nothing in writing to prove that. 

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How does Montresor plan his revenge in The Cask of Amontillado?

Montresor believes that a person should take revenge in a calculated way.

Montresor states:

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. (enotes e-text p. 4)

In order to get “redress” (translation: payback), one needs to take time and make sure that the person who is in the wrong knows that he is taking revenge.  Montresor plans to punish Fortunado "with impunity" (in other words, without risk of punishment).  Montressor identifies Fortunado’s weak point (wine) and uses that to get him.

Monresor claims that he waited patiently for revenge.  Montesor believes that revenge best when the victim does not suspect it.  He is willing to wait, to take his time, to make sure his victim is off guard.  As he points out, he does not make threats.  He waits.

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 definitely, settled—but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. (enotes e-text p. 4)

Basically, he is saying that he took the time to make a good plan, and therefore there was no risk in carrying it out.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor states that the motive for his crime is revenge. In his mind, he is the long-suffering innocent party who has suffered "the thousand injuries" of Fortunato with forbearance, but when "insult" follows, can endure Fortunato no longer. For Montresor, revenge is not a simple matter, but must be carefully executed: to succeed he has to get away with his crime without being caught, and his victim must know that Montresor is the agent of his doom.

Poe writes in the Gothic genre, characterized by gloomy, un-homelike (unheimlich) settings, psychological terror, and such uncanny features as death and doubling. This leads us to wonder if Montresor might subconsciously perceive Fortunato as his double or twin (doppleganger), a reading supported when Montresor explains that "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." If this is the case, is Montresor's real motive an attempt to "bury" parts of himself he abhors and can't face by killing his double? Is "revenge" simply a rationalization?

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

In Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Cask of Amontillado, the narrator, Montresor, has been the apparent target of a lengthy series of probably subtle but pointed insults at the hands of Fortunato.  I say "subtle" because the intended victim of Montresor's wrath has no inkling that Montresor considers him an enemy.  Montresor, though, has been enduring a string of indignities that has clearly left him in a vengeful mood.  The suggestion of cumulative insults is offered in the story's first sentence:

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

At no point in Poe's story does the author provide any further clues as to the nature of grievance.  It is sufficient that the atmosphere has been established through this simple introduction.  The precise nature of the insult is immaterial; this is a story about a man determined to avenge his honor, and who most certainly succeeds, albeit in a way that only he will ever be able to fully appreciate.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor commits the crime against Fortunato because he perceives he has been insulted.  We never find out what the insult is, but it doesn't matter if you subscribe to the idea that "perception is reality".  Whether or not there was an insult, Montresor was insulted.

Revenge is really the motivation.  Montresor has blown the insult issue out of proportion and is determined to seek revenge in order to right the situation and save his honor.  He is obsessed with revenge and has certainly gone to great lengths to exact it.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

The only thing Montresor tells us is that Fortunato insulted him, but we never learn what Fortunato supposedly did. Since Montresor is the narrator, he isn't very reliable, so it's possible that Fortunato did nothing to Montresor. The offense could be in Montresor's mind only. His family motto is no one does anything to a Montresor without the offended Montresor taking revenge. So it's a family tradition in the Montresor family to avenge any and all perceived offenses.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

In the famous horror story "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allen Poe, a rich nobleman named Montresor lures a man named Fortunato into the catacombs under his home with the promise of sampling some Amontillado wine. Once they have reached a remote chamber in the catacombs, Montresor chains Fortunato to the wall, bricks up the entrance, and leaves him there, entombed alive.

As readers, we would suppose that Fortunato must have done something terrible to Montresor to prompt such a horrifying act of revenge, but in fact, the only motivation that Poe mentions is in the first line. Montresor, the narrator, feels that Fortunato insulted him. Although he hints at other injuries, he does not delineate them, and he implies that he bore these other injuries without doing anything about them. He says:

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

Montresor's cunning, evil intent and lack of remorse throughout the story leads us to believe that he didn't perform this foul deed because Fortunato deserved it, but rather because of his own depraved nature.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Poe intended to write a horror story about a man who commits a totally fiendish murder. The murderer, Montresor, had to have an exceptionally strong motive for doing what he did. Montresor claims to have been injured a thousand times. Poe is able to avoid having to give examples of what these injuries were. The tale is presented as a translation of an old manuscript detailing a crime committed at least fifty years earlier. Poe therefore poses as only the owner and translator of this old manuscript; he doesn't have to know anything about the thousand injuries--but the fact that Montresor was injured so many times (assuming we believe him) not only suggests why Montresor plans and executes such a terrible act revenge but also suggests that this Fortunato must have been a terrible man who deserved what he got. Poe's problems in writing the tale included keeping the reader somewhat sympathetic for a man who was capable of burying another man alive and leaving him to die of starvation. Poe deals with the important question of motivation in his opening sentence, because motivation is the most important consideration in any story, and Montresor's motivation for committing such a heinous murder needs to be made understandable and plausible.

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

This says everything that is necessary in a single sentence. Montresor's conduct from here to the end of the story will be driven by two forces, (1) the thousand injuries he has received, and (2) the fact that this proud man has made a vow to obtain revenge. The vow might be considered a more important aspect of his motivation than the thousand injuries, especially since Montresor says he had already borne them as best he could. Yet it must have been the "thousand injuries" rather than the "insult" that made Montresor vow revenge. The insult might have been trivial and might have only triggered the pent-up hatred caused by the thousand injuries. 

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor wants to get revenge on Fortunado for some unnamed insult.

Montresor does not specify how he was insulted, or what the final insult was that got him so mad.

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

We do know that Montresor felt that he should be patient in getting his revenge, because revenge is not really revenge unless you escape punishment too.

Fortunado also suspected nothing.  This is another reason we are led to believe that the injury or insult was a minor one, and mostly in Montresor’s head.  After all, would you go underground to look at some wine if you thought you had insulted a man enough for him to want to kill you?

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

The simple answer to the question of why Montresor wants to kill Fortunato is that Montresor hates him. It doesn't matter whether Montresor is sane or insane, or whether he is justified or unjustified. He hates Fortunato so passionately that he wants to kill him in a horrible manner. Also, he wants to be sure that he doesn't get caught and punished. This is certainly understandable without a lot of explanation. Nobody would want to commit a murder and get sent to prison or executed. Montresor feels that he has been injured and wants revenge. He works his murder plot out carefully and is completely successful in every respect. When he tells the entire story in confidence to someone he addresses as "You, who so well know the nature of my soul," fifty years have passed. So it is obvious that he has achieved a perfect crime and that he has received the "closure" which was his main objective. His hatred for Fortunato tormented him. Once he has achieved his revenge he is cleansed of his tormenting feelings. That is why people seek revenge. He no longer feels any hatred for his victim. That is why he closes with the words, "In pace requiescat!" He means this sincerely. 

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor’s motive for leaving Fortunado in the catacombs is revenge for Fortunado’s insults against him.

Although he never tells us exactly what Fortunado did to him, Montresor opens the story with charging Fortunado with a “thousand injuries.”  Chances are these supposed insults were minor imaginings of a raving mind, because Montresor is not quite right in the head.

Montresor is obsessed with the perfect murder.  He is convinced that he is not really getting revenge unless he gets away with it.  If he is caught and punished, that will not really be sweet revenge.

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.

This is why Montresor chooses to brick Fortunado up in the catacombs, where no one will find him.  He will suffocate and die there, and no one will ever know that Montresor killed him.

The irony is that Fortunado has no idea that Montresor is even angry at him, so he doesn’t suspect anything.  There are no signs that he is going to his death.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Revenge for wrongs done to him in the past is the motive--unexplained as it is, at some point in Fortunato's life, he has wronged Montressor; for that, he wants revenge and the plot in the tombs was the best way for him to have it. That is about as brief as you can make it. Does that work? Brenda

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

We never know what exactly Fortunado has done to so enrage Montressor.  He does not ever explicity say what the man has done; the only motivation appears to be an abhorrence to the wine-snobbery and borishness of his nemesis.  All we know is that in his "confession" (to whom is a matter of contention) reveals only his hatred and loathing of his victim. 

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor tells the reader that Fortunato has done him a thousand injuries.

We are never actually told what Fortunato did.

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

It seems that Fortunato has no idea that Montresor is angry with him, or he would not have agreed to go underground.  Therefore the “injuries” are likely small and imagined, such as a supposed snub or unintentional rudeness interpreted from an innocent action.  Montresor makes it clear that he never uttered a threat or gave Fortunato cause for concern.  Instead, he pretended to be his friend and slowly planned the perfect murder.

Fortunato seems to be more highly placed in society than Montresor.  After all, he is a Mason and Montresor clearly is not (although he pretends to be).  Therefore the real reason Montresor kills him is probably because he is jealous and feels that he deserves what Fortunato has.

Montresor is a madman.  He could be driven by the slightest of actions, which is his mind becomes a huge injury that is not to be borne.  Fortunato did not stand a chance, because once Montresor's delusions set in he was a goner.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor never admits to a clear motive for killing Fortunato, speaking only in the vaguest terms about it. First, he says he has suffered a "thousand injuries" from Fortunato. We have to assume this is hyperbole, which is figurative language based on exaggeration. Since we know that Montresor is telling the story many decades after the fact, he must have been a young man when he murdered Fortunato. How could there have possibly been a "thousand" injuries? The fact that Montresor exaggerates suggests to us that he has an inflated or unrealistic idea of how he has been wronged.

However, Montresor brushes off the thousand injuries and states that, in fact, it is being insulted that determines him to pursue the path of revenge. An injury is actual damage or harm that a person endures. An insult is being spoken to or treated with disrespect. We can conclude from this that Montresor is a very proud person, who has little toleration for being disrespected. We know, too, that later on, Fortunato will speak with disbelief at the idea that Montresor might be a mason, thinking Montresor means he is a member of the freemasons. Fortunato says: 

“You? Impossible! A mason?”

Montresor, however, means he is a literal mason who will wall Fortunato up to die.

It could be that Fortunato is simply a high-handed person who thinks he is better than Montresor, and Montresor, being mentally unstable, can't tolerate that. It could also be that he is walling up Fortunato due to some insult having to do with freemasonry. 

The important point is that whatever Fortunato has done or whatever Montresor perceives him to have done, walling him up to endure a slow, horrible death in the catacombs can't possibly be commensurate with whatever "crime" he committed.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor is the protagonist and narrator of "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe, and he claims from the beginning that the reason he had to seek revenge is that he was insulted. We do not know until the story unfolds exactly what that means, but he expresses his motive clearly in the first line of the story: 

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

Here is the problem: Montresor is not a reliable narrator. What he says may have some truth in it, but we cannot trust his judgment. If the insult were serious enough to warrant being murdered, a "sane" person would not have been able to act as if nothing were wrong until he had the opportunity to arrange a murder.

It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will. I continued as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile NOW was at the thought of his immolation.

If the insult were serious enough, the one who gave the insult (Fortunato) would not have been on such friendly terms with the man he insulted so strongly (Montresor). 

While it is clear that Montresor is perfectly capable of planning and executing a well-staged murder, he is not rational about his reason for doing so. He accepted "a thousand injuries" before this one insult, and yet the one insult was enough to prompt a murder. That is not rational thinking. 

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor is the narrator of Poe's short story The Cask of Amontillado. The reader does not learn that key bit of information until near the end of the story when Fortunato screams out and begs for his life.  

At the very beginning of the story, Montresor announces to his reader why Fortunato must die.  Montresor kills Fortunato out of revenge. More specifically, the reason for his revenge is that Fortunato insulted Montresor in some way.

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

Montresor never explains what those injuries were or what the insult was.  It is up to the reader to hypothesize a bunch of possible reasons. Fortunato is pompous and annoying for sure, but Montresor isn't exactly pure as the driven snow.  If he is killing somebody over a single insult, he is definitely a tense individual.  

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor does not go into detail about what specifically motivates him to murder Fortunato but does mention that Fortunato had caused him a "thousand injuries" before insulting him one last time. Fortunato is depicted as an arrogant, proud man, who openly insults individuals like Luchresi without thinking twice.

Montresor is portrayed as a vengeful individual, who takes pride in his heritage and family's impressive name. While Montresor leads the unsuspecting Fortunato into the depths of his catacombs, he mentions that his descendants were "great" and "numerous." He also spends time elaborating on his family's coat of arms and motto, which means "No one provokes me with impunity"—this emphasizes his terrifying plan of revenge.

Given Fortunato's propensity for insulting individuals and Montresor's family pride, one can assume that Fortunato more than likely insulted Montresor's family name, which motivates him to murder Fortunato by burying him alive in the vaults of his palazzo.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor says he has suffered a "thousand" injuries from Fortunato but that, in the end, it is an insult that leads him to plot revenge. However, although he feels his pride has been damaged, Montresor never reveals exactly what the final, unforgivable insult was that led him to believe he needed to protect his pride and family honor through murdering another person in a horrendous way.

We have to wonder if the actual injuries and insult have gradually become less important to Montresor as he stuffs down his anger—smiling and pretending everything is fine—and then consumes himself with plotting vengeance. The revenge seems to have taken on a mad life of its own. One wonders what Fortunato could possibly have done that was so terrible that he deserves the fate of a slow death walled up in a catacomb.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor has "vowed revenge" for what he calls the "thousand injuries" of Fortunato.

What these injuries are the reader never learns. Instead, Poe's unreliable narrator describes how revenge must be planned so that there can be no element of risk. According to Montresor, revenge is only complete when it is done "with impunity"; that is, there are no consequences felt by the avenger for his act. Yet, while the avenger must remain unknown to the authorities or any one besides the victim, the victim must be made aware of the avenger in order for the act to be truly revenge.

Poe's narrator enacts his revenge precisely according to his blueprint, luring the vain and arrogant Fortunato into the Montresor vaults where, supposedly, a large cask of Amontillado, a variety of sherry, is stored. Because it is the Carnival season, it is unlikely that any of the revelers will pay attention to Fortunato's departure; moreover, people are all in costume, so recognition of perpetrator and victim is difficult, if not impossible. In addition, Montresor's servants are gone, so they cannot know what their master has planned.

As they enter the vaults, Montresor picks up two lighted torches and gives one to Fortunato, pointing out to him the dampness of the walls and the niter upon them. When Fortunato coughs in this damp atmosphere, Montresor feigns concern, revealing a vague sense of his resentment while playing to his foe's ego: 

"Come...we will go back; 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. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi--"

With dramatic irony Fortunato replies, 

"Enough! The cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough."

Finally, after a series of twists and turns through the niter-covered apertures, Montresor lures Fortunato into a small recess by furthering his intoxication with Medoc. Then, Montresor fetters his victim to the granite in which two iron rings hang. With stone and mortar, he walls up the entrance to this niche.
His revenge completed, Montresor boasts to his audience that for fifty years no one has discovered his crime. Therefore, he has achieved perfect revenge.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Unfortunately, there is not really a satisfying answer to the question of motive in "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe. There is an answer, it is simply not a good enough answer to justify what Montresor does to Fortunato. Montresor tries to explain his thinking in the opening lines of the story:

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.

What he wants us to believe is that Fortunato had somehow done him thousands of "injuries" which Montresor has managed to graciously overlook; then Fortunato insulted him and that was all Montresor could take. The insult must, of course, have been monumental to overshadow (be worse than) a thousand injuries, so when we read the rest of the story we are looking for signs that Fortunato really does bear some kind of venomous hatred toward Montresor.

Unfortunately for Montresor, we find nothing of the sort. Instead we watch Fortunato greet Montresor like an old friend, willingly follow Montressor to his house, and even joke with him in Montresor's underground crypt. It is true that Fortunato is full of pride and therefore falls into Montresor's cunning and well conceived trap; however, we find no evidence that Fortunato has any negative feelings against anyone but his rival, Luchesi. Montresor's claim to motive, that he could no longer bear the consistent insults by Fortunato, does not seem to be substantiated by the facts. 

It is our nature to expect a heinous crime to be precipitated by a heinous grievance because then at least it makes sense. Without that, such a foul act seems monstrous and unprovoked, and it is the same kind of reaction we have to school shootings and other senseless acts of violence. Since we do not have a motive sufficient to explain the crime, we can only assume that Montresor is not sane, for a same person would never commit such an atrocious act.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor never tells the reader specifically why he is seeking revenge on Fortunato. He only says that Fortunato has "inflicted a thousand insults". Montresor never tells the reader what those insults might have been which makes Montresor an unreliable narrator and therefore we should question the validity of his story, while cleverly plotted, it may not even be true.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

This question has been previously answered, please see the link below.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

The most puzzling and intriguing lines in "The Cask of Amontillado" are undoubtedly,

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

At this point, we reasonably expect Montresor to identify the nature of the "insult," particularly when it becomes clear that the insult, whatever it is, has driven Montresor to take such horrific revenge on Fortunato.  Fortunately, however, for many generations of readers and literary critics, Montresor leaves everyone mystified about the nature of the insult, which in turn casts doubt upon Montresor's reliability both as the narrator and as a person.  From a practical standpoint, if readers cannot trust Montresor-as-narrator, they can never be certain whether he is recounting events or personalities as they are or as he perceives them.  For example, our perception of Fortunato may not be accurate because we see him through the eyes of an unreliable (that is, obsessed) narrator, one of Poe's favorite character types.

One of the most important aspects of "The Cask of Amontillado," then, is not what we know about Montresor and his revenge, but what we do not know.  His failure to identify the insult, among other things, leads readers to debate endlessly about the cause of Montresor's revenge and, perhaps more important, gives the narrative an air of unresolvable mystery.  Without knowing the cause of Montresor's hatred, it becomes impossible for us to decide whether Montresor's revenge falls within justifiable behavior--assuming, of course, that anything justifies murder.

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor is vague about exactly how Fortunato has wronged him. So the reader can only guess as to whether Montresor was justified in his revenge. Considering the harsh nature of the murder, it seems unlikely that Montresor's crime can be justified at all, especially when Montresor claims that the last straw was a mere insult. Whatever injustice(s) Fortunato has allegedly done to Montresor, this is what led Montresor to exact his revenge on Fortunato. Montresor notes this in the first sentence of the story: 

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

Given this first line, we can only assume and suppose what the insult could have been. And if it indeed was just an insult, we might suppose that Montresor is too sensitive and/or had some other unknown motive for killing Fortunato. Whatever the insult was, Montresor became furious but calculating. Still in the first paragraph, he remarks: 

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. 

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What is Montresor's motive for his crime in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor says that his motive for killing Fortunato was that Fortunato had insulted him.

We actually do not know what Montresor thinks Fortunato did, but we can assume it was nothing significant because he is not specific, and because Fortunato does not seem to be aware that there was an injustice done at all.

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.

Fortunato goes with Montresor down into the catacombs at night.  No one would do that if he felt that a person was out to get him for revenge.  You just do not go underground with people you have mortally insulted!

Yet Fortunato has no idea that he ever insulted Montresor or that Montresor is harboring a murderous rage because of it.

It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted me with excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much.

Would you really show someone excessive warmth if you thought they were holding a grudge against you?  No, you would more likely be very cautious.  Montresor gets away with murder because Fortunato has no idea that he is even angry.

The hyperbole in saying that Fortunato committed a “thousand injuries” and the fact that Fortunato is not suspicious adds up to the idea that Fortunato did not really do anything.  Montresor imagined it.  There was probably some minor slight that no one else would have noticed, which Montresor blew out of proportion. 

Montresor is clearly a madman.  Madmen do not make very good friends.  He is having some kind of delusion about Fortunato, and because of that Fortunato has to die.

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What was Montresor's idea of perfect revenge in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

In Poe's "Cask of Amontillado," Montressor's idea of perfect revenge is confessing to us that he murdered Fortunato over fifty years ago and knowing that he has gotten away with it and there's nothing anyone can do to punish him for it.  In short, the idea worked as the perfect muder and the perfect murder story.

Not only was Montressor's plan brilliant, luring Fortunato to his catacombs using a bottle of amontillado as a red herring, but his execution of the plan shows bravado.  He foreshadows his vengeful intentions to Fortunato several times on the passage down to the niche using the trowel, the coat of arms, and much verbal irony.  But Fortunato is blinded and drunk by greed and wine, playing right into Montressor's trap.

Montressor's plan to bury Fortunato alive in an underground vault also shows much forethought.  No one would think to look for him there; much less, there could be little proof of a murder, since Fortunato's body is walled up and mixed with other corpses' bones.

The real brilliance of the revenge, though, comes in being able to retell it over fifty years after.  Either Montressor is a brilliant mastermind or a lunatic who invented the whole story.  Either way, as an old man, it takes a masterful mind to remember/invent such a horror story knowing that he has impunity.

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What is Montresor's plan for revenge as outlined in the opening paragraph of "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Initially, Montresor comments that in order to successfully carry out revenge one must "not only punish but punish with impunity." He begins by maintaining an affable relationship with Fortunato by continually smiling during their conversations, which allows him to hide his true malevolent feelings. Montresor puts his plan into action after running into a rather intoxicated Fortunato during the "supreme madness of the carnival season." Knowing that Fortunato considers himself to be a connoisseur of wine and is an arrogant man, Montresor cleverly baits Fortunato by telling him that he has a pipe of Amontillado and that he plans on asking Luchresi to verify its authenticity. Montresor knows that Fortunato will criticize Luchresi and volunteer to taste the wine. Montresor then takes Fortunato to his empty palazzo, where there are no servants or attendants. Montresor explains to his audience that he had specifically told his servants that he would not be home later, knowing that they would abscond from their duties.

Once Fortunato arrives at Montresor's home, Montresor leads him through the depths of his underground catacombs. Several times Montresor offers Fortunato wine along their journey to further intoxicate him while he insincerely encourages Fortunato to turn back. Montresor knows that Fortunato's pride will motivate him to continue traveling deeper until they reach the Amontillado. When Fortunato reaches the end of the vault, Montresor quickly shackles his arms and begins building a wall behind Fortunato. Brick by brick, Montresor buries Fortunato alive in the depths of his family's catacombs, where no one will hear or discover him. Montresor then refuses to reveal his secret for fifty years.

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Why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

At the beginning of the story, Montresor does not provide details or elaborate on specific incidents for why he plots revenge on Fortunato, but does mention that Fortunato had wrong him a thousand times and insulted his family's prestigious name. Montresor then tells the reader that he has plotted revenge for some time and mentions that he must punish Fortunato without being caught. Montresor then says,

"A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser" (Poe, 1).

Essentially, Montresor means that a wrong is not straightened or atoned for when the punishment overtakes the person enacting revenge. Montresor believes that it is essential to avoid being punished while enacting revenge upon a person. As the story progresses, Montresor deceives Fortunato by acting amiably toward him before leading him down into his family's catacombs, where Montresor shackles and buries Fortunato alive. At the end of the story, Montresor reveals that he successfully enacted revenge without being caught and Fortunato has been buried in his catacombs for a half of century. 

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Why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato in The Cask of Amontillado?

Montresor never makes specific what Fortunato has done to him, suggesting that the "thousand injuries" he may or may not have suffered are less important than Montresor's perception of injury. 

We do get a hint that Fortunato considers himself superior to Montresor. When Montresor says he is a mason, Fortunato takes this to mean a Freemason, a group which apparently Fortunato is a part of--and Forunato exclaims "You! Impossible!" He "recoils" when Montresor shows him the trowel, and says "You jest." Then his mind returns to his quest for the Amontillado, and he urges Montresor on.

This dialogue, though short and merely suggestive, speaks volumes in a compact story. It hints that Fortunato considers that he is lowering himself to be with Montresor, a man he cannot seriously consider a fellow Mason, and only condescends to do so because of the bait of the rare wine.

On the other hand, Fortunato's snobbery is not stated directly as fact by either of the characters. One of the most interesting facets of this story is its porousness, the way it leaves itself open to construction and interpretation. 

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Why does Montresor seek revenge against Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor, Poe's unreliable and hyperbolic narrator, claims that he seeks revenge after Fortunato has added insult to injury.

In the exposition of Poe's Gothic tale, Montresor claims that he has endured "the thousand injuries" that Fortunato has committed against him; however, when his enemy has "ventured upon insult," he states that he can bear no more, and must be avenged. Having decided upon revenge, Montresor commences his intricate plan to approach Fortunato during the Carnival season when Fortunato's disappearance should not soon be noticed. Also, Fortunato, who should be at least somewhat inebriated from celebrating, will be more susceptible to Montresor's luring him into the catacombs on the pretext of tasting the Amontillado. 

Montresor's plan is effective as he succeeds in tempting his enemy Fortunato into the damp "vaults." Further, Montresor exploits Fortunato's desire to outdo his rival Luchesi by tasting the Amontillado. Montresor also feigns concern for Fortunato's health because of the dampness of the cavern walls and repeatedly suggests that they turn back. But Fortunato, who will not be outdone later by Luchesi or anyone else, insists that they keep going forward. As Montresor knows, Fortunato is a rapacious man who wishes to taste the Amontillado and judge it before his foe Luchesi has any chance to do so.   

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Why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato in The Cask of Amontillado?

Poe actually never has Montresor state the specific reasons behind his wanting revenge, though he hints at several possibilities. Although he does mention injuries and insults, he never reveals details.

First, Montresor seems vindictive and almost paranoid. It could well be that the wrongs for which he is obtaining revenge never actually happened and are products of Montresor's imagination. 

Another possibility is that Montresor comes from a wealthy family now on hard times. He may blame Fortunato for the change in his family's fortunes or may simply resent Fortunato for being a nouveau riche.

Both men are wine connoisseurs and possibly merchants. There appears to be some rivalry concerning expertise in wines, or perhaps there was some sort of commercial rivalry in the past.

Part of the point of of this vagueness is to convey the idea that the desire for vengeance has become so overwhelming that the original cause no longer matters; instead, the vengeance and its planning have become an obsession for Montresor.

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Why does Montresor want revenge against Fortunato?

Montresor begins his narrative by stating

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

Since Montresor never describes the insult or any of the injuries, readers have offered all sorts of conflicting opinions about his motivation. Some believe that Montresor was never injured or insulted at all and therefore must be insane. Poe avoids having to clarify or justify Montresor's motivation by having him address his communication, or confession, or letter, to a person he calls 

You, who so well know the nature of my soul

Presumably this person knows so much about Montresor that it is not necessary for him to give any examples of the injuries. This device is effective because it forces the reader to pay close attention to the text in an effort to deduce facts that are fully understood by "You, who so well know the nature of my soul." This is very much like Ernest Hemingway's famous "Iceberg principle." 

If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.
                         Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

It does not seem likely that Montresor could be insane and write such a coherent narrative. He must be sane and telling the exact truth. There should be indications within the narrative of the types of injuries that have driven Montresor to plan and execute his revenge. The injuries would have to be of a kind that are known only to Montresor and Fortunato. Montresor wants to kill with "impunity," and he could not expect impunity if it were widely known that he had been injured by Fortunato anything like a thousand times. Poe offers a clue in the third paragraph of the story, which should be read with special attention.

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 connoisseur-ship 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 sounds as if both men are "gentlemen-brokers" who earn their livings by dealing in luxury goods such as paintings, jewelry,antiques, gourmet wines--even in real estate. Fortunato is rich, Montresor is poor. Montresor puts up with Fortunato's injuries because he is dependent on him financially. There are many impoverished Venetian aristocrats who are forced to dispose of family heirlooms in order to survive in their decaying palazzi. Montresor may often need to borrow from the man he constantly describes as his good friend in order to purchase an item for resale. Or he may go into an ad hoc partnership with Fortunato on a purchase. Or he may simply receive a finder's fee for introducing his good friend to a prospective buyer or seller of some one-of-a-kind family treasure. Fortunato would have plenty of opportunities to "injure" Montresor, without anyone else knowing about it, by taking an unfair share of the profits on a transaction, by paying a lower finder's fee than agreed upon, or cheating him in a dozen other ways. As Montresor says to his good friend when they are in the catacombs:

“Come,” I said, with decision, “we will go back; 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."

Montresor knows that Fortunato is planning to cheat him on the nonexistent Amontillado. It would be just the sort of opportunity Fortunato could not resist. He is planning to taste the wine and, assuming it is genuine, tell Montresor it is only ordinary sherry, then find the nonexistent Spanish ship with its nonexistent cargo of Amontillado and buy up the whole shipload. When Montresor found out what happened, Fortunato would laugh it off as "an excellent jest." He is a scoundrel, but he considers himself a funny fellow, which is why he wears a jester's costume in the carnival.

This is a logical explanation of why Montresor, who is extremely clever and perfectly sane, should want revenge against Fortunato. Montresor has been cheated by this man so many times that he knows he can entrap him simply by offering him an apparent opportunity to cheat him once again.

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What is Montresor's plan for revenge as outlined in the opening paragraph of "The Cask of Amontillado"?

In order to ensure that he succeeds in getting his revenge on Fortunato Montresor concocts an elaborate plan to ensure that he will succeed and will never be caught. The first part of his plan is to convince Fortunato to come with him to his families' underground vault. In order to do this he tells Fortunato that he has purchased a very rare wine and wants Fortunato to help him determine if it is authentic. He knows that Fortunato will be unable to resist the chance to try this rare wine and demonstrate his great knowledge of wine. The second part of his plan is to make sure that all of his servants are gone for the night when he brings Fortunato home. In order to do this he tells them that he will be gone and needs them to watch the residence. He knows that they will take it as an opportunity to leave and leave the residence deserted. Once they reach the vaults Montresor leads Fortunato deep into the vaults in pursuit of the "Amontillado." In reality, he leads Fortunato to a remote passage where he has removed part of the wall to trap Fortunato. He leads Fortunato into the hole where he chains him to a wall and then fills the hole in the wall. Fortunato is never seen or heard from again.

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Why did Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato?

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 is the reason Montresor gets revenge on Fortunato? What was the insult?

Poe has Montresor address his confidential communication to a single individual whom he calls "You, who so well know the nature of my soul." This is a brilliant literary device and foreshadows Ernest Hemingway's "iceberg theory," which also involved leaving out exposition. In doing this, Poe relieves himself of the need for providing a whole lot of exposition and can focus on the actual crime, the dramatic action, itself. Poe does not even have to mention where the events took place. Some readers actually think the crime might have occurred in New Orleans! Or perhaps in Kansas City, Missouri? Poe does not have to describe the "thousand injuries of Fortunato" because, presumably, he has told this confidant, or confidante, all about his relations with Fortunato before, presumably in letters.

I believe it is a mistake to assume that Montresor wants revenge because of some unspecified "insult." In my opinion it is the "thousand injuries" for which he wants his revenge. The insult, whatever it was, only shows that Fortunato was becoming more obnoxious and insufferable, and would continue to infuriate Montresor in the future.

Why does Montresor put up with a thousand injuries? Why does he associate with Fortunato at all? There is no need for Montresor to explain this to "You, who so well know the nature of my soul," but we readers have to play Sherlock Holmes and deduce from the existing evidence. Here is the third paragraph of the story 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 connoisseur-ship 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 suggests that Montresor and Fortunato deal in luxury items. They are not Italian noblemen but gentlemen-brokers and connoisseurs. Fortunato is rich. Montresor is poor. Montresor may depend on him for loans, finder's fees, ad hoc partnerships in single transactions, and other such financial benefits. Fortunato may have cheated Montresor many times or taken unfair advantage of him in other ways. Since these matters would be between the two men, Montresor could continue to speak of Fortunato as "my friend," "my old friend," "my good friend," and "my best friend," in order to convince everyone, including Fortunato himself, that they were good friends and thereby forestall incurring any possible suspicion when Fortunato turns up missing. Montresor has so thoroughly conditioned himself to thinking of Fortunato as his friend that he refers to him constantly as such throughout the story, even when he is taking him to the niche where he intends to chain him to the granite wall and leave him to die of starvation and madness.

Fortunato will not die for a single insult but for a thousand past injuries. 

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Why does Montresor seek revenge against Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor decides to seek revenge against Fortuanato because he believes that Fortunato has insulted him. The story says "the thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge."  We are not told the specifics of this insult.  The story leaves the reader to wonder what the insult was and if it ever actually occurred.  The story also describes Montressor's family coat of arms and moto.  The coat of arms depicts a large foot crushing a snake that has bitten the heal of the foot.  His family motto states "no one attacks me with impunity."  This tells the reader something of Montressor's character.  He feels that he must punish any offense.  Montressor does not like Fortunato and feels he has put up with him long enough.  Finally, Fortuanto insults Montressor in some fashion and Montressor's anger boils over.  Once again, we do not know if this offense ever really occurred.

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Why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," the narrator, like so many of Poe's narrators, is unreliable in that he does not provide any reason for his revenge other than the vague statement,

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

Then, ironically, the narrator assumes that readers know him: 

You who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat.

Obviously, then, there is a great deal of ambiguity about Montresor's "revenge" that he feels (1) he must seek and perform with impunity as well as (2) receive acknowlegement of this revenge on the part of the victim.  Both of these goals of revenge are attained:  Montresor walls in Fortunato in the tomb/catacombs, and Fortunato is well aware of what Montresor has done as he calls to him, asking to be allowed to return to the carnival, and finally crying "For the love of God, Montresor!"

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Why does Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

We do not know why Montresor wants to have revenge on Fortunato.  We are told that Fortunato has "injured" him in a thousand ways.  But we also can see that Fortunato does not fear Montresor or act strange around him.  So that implies that Fortunato does not know Montresor is mad at him.

The phrase that you cite means that there you do not really get revenge if you get caught and punished for doing it.  So Montresor does not think it is real revenge to kill someone if you get caught and punished for the murder.

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Is it necessary that Fortunato wants to get revenge in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

I think you mean Montresor instead of Fortunato. I'm not sure what you mean by "is it necessary", but from Montresor's point of view, it is very necessary. The story is told in first person point of view, and Montresor makes his case to the reader why he feels it's necessary. Also consider his family motto and coat of arms--anyone who does harm to the Montresors will be punished. He feels it's also his family duty to punish Fortunato. The offense incurred by Fortunato doesn't matter because he's done something that makes Montresor think that Fortunato has wronged him. The fact that Montresor feels offended is all that's necessary for him to believe Fortunato must be punished. Whether he's insane or not is left up to the reader, but he certainly spends time trying to convince us he isn't mad.

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What is the reason Montresor gets revenge on Fortunato? What was the insult?

There really isn't a reason ever given for Montressor's hatred of Fortunado. This is what makes the tale all the more compelling and puzzling.

Some critics feel that Fortunado embodies all that is repugnant about the middle class aspiring to be elite. Fortunado's snobbishniss about wines, for example, illustrates this principle. He may be the unfortunate, physical target of Montressor's animosity.

Others feel that there simply is no basis other than the fact that Montressor is crazy. The catacombs may represent and the descent into darkness reflects his own warped thinking and pure evil.

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