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

Start Free Trial

Discussion Topic

Montresor's tactics for manipulating and deceiving Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"

Summary:

Montresor manipulates and deceives Fortunato by exploiting his pride in his wine connoisseurship. He lures Fortunato into the catacombs with the promise of tasting a rare Amontillado, repeatedly using reverse psychology and flattery. Montresor pretends concern for Fortunato's health, further ensuring Fortunato's compliance, ultimately leading him to his grim fate.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Montresor lures Fortunato further and further into the catacombs through appeals to his vanity, through reverse psychology, through flattery and through keeping him drunk. 

Montresor begins to spring his trap even before they enter the catacombs and will continue it as they go deeper and deeper.

Montresor first pricks Fortunato's vanity and plays on his rivalry with Luchresi by telling him about the amontillado, and then saying:

"'I am on my way to Luchresi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me—'"

Fortunato responds as expected: "'Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry.'"

Montresor then uses reverse psychology, insisting Fortunato is too busy to taste the amontillado (and also mentions his rival again):

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

Fortunato again responds on cue: "'I have no engagement;—come."

Montressor continues to use reverse psychology, flattery and Luchresi within the catacombs. When they are deep inside, Fortunato, sensitive to the nitre (mold) and the damp, has a coughing fit. Montresor responds:

"'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. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchresi—'"

Again, this works like a charm (one wonders what would have happened if it didn't): 

"'Enough,' he [Fortunato] said; 'the cough's a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.'"

This gives the well-prepared Montresor the opportunity to further disable his victim by offering him more to drink:

"'True—true,' I replied; 'and, indeed, I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily—but you should use all proper caution. A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps.'

Here I 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."

Fortunato is already quite tipsy, as we know because he "leers" and the bells on his cap jingle as if he is unsteady. At this point they are so far into the catacombs that Montresor has won, all by manipulating his friend into insisting on walking into the trap.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Fortunato is lured into the catacombs by the prospect of sampling, or tasting a rare dry sherry (wine).  Montresor tells his friend and sworn enemy, Fortunato,  that he has purchased a rare cask of Amontillado.

"Fortunato, a respected and feared man, is a proud connoisseur of fine wine, and, at least on the night of the story, he clouds his senses and judgment by drinking too much of it. He allows himself to be led further and further into the catacombs by Montresor, stepping past piles of bones with no suspicion. And by his unwillingness to let a rival, Luchesi, have the pleasure of sampling it first. "

It is Fortunato's pride and the fact that he is quite drunk that allows him to be led to his death.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Montresor entices Fortunato to accompany him on the pretext of desiring that Fortunato taste and confirm the quality of his Amontillado, dry sherry in a new cask he has recently purchased. He manipulates Fortunato by playing upon his professional rivalry with Luchesi.

Montresor has planned his revenge against Fortunato for "[T]he thousand injuries" that he has suffered. He has decided that he will lure Fortunato into the Montresor family vaults on the pretext of having him taste some Amontillado in order to confirm for him that it is truly dry and thus of especially high quality. He tells Fortunato: 

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

Then, Montresor plays upon Fortunato's rivalry with Luchesi:

"If you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If anyone has a critical turn, it is he. He will tell me—"
"Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from sherry." [says Fortunato]
"And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own."

This remark about his rival arouses Fortunato's desire to be the first to taste the Amontillado. Therefore, he urges Montresor to take him to the vaults so that he can boast of being the connoisseur who has first verified the quality of the Amontillado. Montresor, who previously dismissed all his servants to eliminate any risk of his actions being witnessed, then leads the unsteady Fortunato into the damp, niter-filled rooms. As they go deeper into the catacombs, the devious Montresor feigns concern for his "friend." In this way, Montresor follows his plan of revenge in which he can "punish with impunity." 

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

It is stated before we even meet the characters that Fortunato is a wine connoisseur, and Montresor makes use of that fact to bring about Fortunato's death. He claims to have a pipe (a large barrel) of Amontillado, a very specific type of sherry, which is the first enticement. Then, Montresor says he will ask another man, Luchesi, whether or not it is actually Amontillado and not some random sherry; this serves as the second enticement, taunting Fortunato with the supposed expertise of another man. Fortunato takes the bait, claiming that Luchesi is not good enough to determine whether or not Montresor actually has a cask of Amontillado, so he himself would go and test it. Montresor pretends to decline, saying that Fortunato's health is not good enough to go down into the cellar, and he does that multiple times on their journey, but each time Fortunato states that he is fine and they should keep going. He is clearly very excited about the Amontillado, which means that Montresor made a good decision in using it as the bait. So, in the end, Montresor makes Fortunato think that it was his own idea to go into the vaults to test the cask of Amontillado.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Montresor lures Fortunato to his wine vaults first by playing on Fortunato's pride as a connoisseur of wine. He sets the bait by informing Fortunato that he has a pipe of amontillado but is not sure it is genuine. Fortunato, proud of his knowledge of wine, cannot resist the chance to show off his knowledge. Montresor adds that he doesn't want to bother him and that his other friend, Luchesi, can test the wine. Fortunato insists that he's the best judge and follows Montresor to the vaults. 

Once he gets him in the vaults/catacombs, still acting as the good friend, Montresor notes Fortunato's cough and says that they should go back out. The vaults are cold and damp. Montresor's warnings are to show that he cares for his friend's health. However, this just makes Fortunato want to continue. It's as if Fortunato is a child being told what not to do, and this just makes him want to do it all the more. Once again, Montresor proposes that they leave the vaults because these are bad conditions for one who has a bad cough. And once again, he says he can summon his friend Luchesi. But Fortunato won't be outdone by Luchesi. He wants to test Montresor's wine to prove to him whether or not it is an authentic Amontillado. Montresor also uses wine/alcohol to lure him farther in. It alleviates Fortunato's cough and keeps him inebriated, making it easier for Montresor to continue manipulating him and lure him farther in. 

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Montresor exploits Fortunato's extreme and obviously predictable pride in order to lure him to Montresor's family catacombs and kill him.  It seems as though Fortunato has "injur[ed]" and "insult[ed]" Montresor on a personal level, and now Montresor uses Fortunato's feelings of superiority against him.  He claims that he purchased a large quantity of a rare Spanish wine and that "'[he] was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting [Fortunato] in the matter.'''  In this way, Montresor seems to defer to Fortunato's expertise, claiming that his own knowledge is inferior.  In other words, he flatters Fortunato, seeming to admit his own lack of expertise.

Then, Montresor suggests that Fortunato is clearly busy tonight, and so he will go in search of the other local wine connoisseur, a man named Luchesi, saying that "'some fools will have it that his taste is a match for [Fortunato's].'"  Again, he flatters Fortunato's pride, indicating that he thinks that Luchesi's palate is nowhere near as refined as Fortunato's, but that he will have to make do with a sub-par expert since Fortunato is clearly engaged.

Montresor knows that Fortunato will not be able to pass on the chance to show him up.  When he first tells Fortunato about the Amontillado, Fortunato exclaims that the chances of the wine being Amontillado are "'Impossible!'"  He seems absolutely incredulous that Montresor would make such a purchase, and he seems eager to gloat over his rival's likely mistake.  Further, Montresor knows that Fortunato fancies himself more knowledgeable than Luchesi and that this would give him an opportunity to prove it.  Fortunato states, "'Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry.'"  Thus, Montresor uses Fortunato's overweening pride against him in order to lure him to his death.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Montresor uses several means of deception and manipulation to get Fortunato to follow him, but he most particularly plays upon Fortunato's ego.

The primary setup was Montresor's lie about having acquired a "pipe" or barrel, of Amontillado, which we are to take from their conversation is a highly-regarded wine, but one which may be so rare or expensive as to inspire others to pass off a cheaper wine as Amontillado and still fetch the full Amontillado price. Fortunato fancies himself an expert on wine, and this seems to be the perfect situation for him; he gets free wine regardless of the outcome, and he gets to show off his knowledge. Montresor relies upon Fortunato's ego to drive him further into danger.

The promise of the Amontillado alone may not have been enough to tempt Fortunato - so Montresor also contrives a lie about being on his way to see someone else to do the inspection job. He also suggests that his catacombs, where the wine is stored, are too damp, threatening Fortunato's health. This forms a challenge against both Fortunato's body and his mind, or reputation - on both counts Fortunato is too stubborn to relent, and by going against these perceived challenges, he unwittingly becomes focused on exactly the wrong threats. This, and his drunkenness, are probably what prevents him from perceiving the many veiled threats that Montresor makes against him.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Poe wanted to write a story in which one man lures another into the underground catacombs and leaves him to die in chains. The only thing that could lure such a man deep underground would be wine. It seems impossible to think of anything else that Montresor could have claimed to have to show Fortunato down there under his palazzo. It had to be some exceptionally good wine. It couldn't be Italian wine because too much of that was available in the city. (Note that at the end of the third paragraph, Montresor writes: "I was skilful in the Italian vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I could." This shows that he cannot pretend to need a second opinion on a cask of Italian wine.) It couldn't be French wine for the same reason. Montresor is French himself. The only other possibility was Spanish wine. Poe may have known very little about Amontillado except that it was the best wine produced in Spain and their most expensive export. 

Poe knew it wasn't enough to have a small amount of Amontillado. Montresor claims to have a pipe containing 126 gallons--and furthermore, and most importantly, he claims to have gotten it at a bargain price. It is the bargain price that lures Fortunato underground, not the desire to drink a glass of gourmet Spanish sherry. Montresor knew that Fortunato would not go with him just to taste his wine. The Amontillado (if it existed) would have come into port recently aboard a ship from Barcelona. Fortunato could have found the ship with ease and tasted the Amontillado on board-which Montresor would have done himself if the wine had been real and the ship had been real. Montresor pretends to be in a big hurry to get an expert opinion on his pipe of nonexistent imported Amontillado and says he is on his way to Luchesi. Fortunato only goes with Montresor to prevent him from going to Luchesi, who would also be extremely interested in a cargo of wine at a bargain price.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Montresor appeals to Fortunato's ego.  Fortunato prides himself on his skills as a connoisseur of fine wine.  Montresor tells Fortunato that he has been given a cask of Amontillado, a very rare and expensive wine, but that he believes it to be fake.  Montresor tells Fortunato he is going to find Luchresi, another expert on wine, and ask him if the wine is truly Amantillado.  This is too much for Fortunato to take, and he tells Montresor that he will come and taste the wine and give his expert opinion.  Fortunato is already drunk; Montressor gives him additional wine on the way to the Amontillado, therefore it is not difficult for Montresor to shackle Fortunato and build the brick wall around him.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Montresor seeks revenge on Fortunato, for a "thousand injuries" and a nameless insult. His plan involves burying Fortunato alive, deep within the catacombs of the Montresors. So he devises a plan to bring Fortunato to his own death. He tells Fortunato that he has purchased a cask of Amontillado, and needs Fortunato's expertise to determine the quality.

He flatters Fortunato, continually appealing to his sense of pride. He also decieved Fortunato, telling him that he will ask another appraiser instead. Fortunato is lured by this flattery, & by his competition with Luchesi (the other connoisseur). He is also drawn by the promise of Amontillado, which is a very rare dry sherry. Fortunato has already been drinking and celebrating during carnival, and he is easily convinced.

However, once he agrees to follow, Montresor continues his plan to ensure his revenge will work. He opens a bottle of wine and pauses often in their walk, to toast Fortunato. Yet his real intention is to make Fortunato even more intoxicated, thereby rendering him helpless and vulnerable. Although Fortunato is normally a respected citizen, when drunk he lives up to the jester costume which he is wearing. His weakness for alcohol allows him to be led deeper and deeper into the catacombs, eventually reaching his burial place.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

The answer to this question can be found in the first few paragraphs of the text itself.  If you read it closely, you learn right off the bat that Montresor is angry with Fortunado because of the "thousands of insults" that Fortunado had sent his way.  Because of this, Montresor has devised "revenge...with impunity."  But, in order to exact his revenge, he must lure Fortunado down into the catacombs.  This is much easier than it might seem.  First of all, it is carnival, a huge party in the city, and Fortunado is already a bit tipsy from celebrating and drinking.  Secondly, Montresor knows that Fortunado "prided himself on his connoisseur-ship in wine," and this was quite a big weakness for him.  Fortunado thought he was an expert of wine, and whether one wine was better than another or not.  So, Montresor devises a plan.  He decides that he will pretend that he just bought a bottle of a fine wine, called Amontillado, and that he wants Fortunado to taste it and tell him if it really is a good wine, or if he paid too much for it.  This of course would require that they go into the catacombs.  Montresor knew that would appeal to Fortunado's sense of pride over his "expertise."  Montresor is even sneaky enough to lead Fortunado into thinking that tasting the wine was his own idea.  The conversation goes, in part, as follows:

"I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain...As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me—”

“Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry.”

“And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own.”

“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. Luchesi—”

“I have no engagement;—come.”

So, Montresor is able to lure him down to the vaults on the pretense of having a cask of Amontillado that he was going to bring to someone else to taste to see if it was any good.  Fortunado would not have that!  HE was the best wine-taster, so HE must do it.

I hope that those thoughts helped a bit; good luck!

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Montresor tricks Fortunado into going into the wine cellar by telling him that he wants his advice on a cask of rare wine.

Montresor’s goal is to get Fortunado into the catacombs so that he can kill him.  He believes that Fortunado has insulted him extremely, and deserves to die.  What the insult is, and why Fortunado deserves to be murdered for it, is never revealed.

The bait that Montresor uses to get Fortunato into the underground wine cellar in the Montresor crypt is a cask of rare Amontillado wine.  He knows that Fortunato won't be able to resist.

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.

He tries to make it seem like it’s no big deal. In fact, he even goes so far as to suggest that he will get another man, Luchesi, to look at the wine.  He knows this will make Fortunato more interested.  He is right!

“Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Amontillado! You have been imposed upon. And as for Luchesi, he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado.”

Fortunato laughs of Montresor’s comments about his health.  Montresor is basically using reverse psychology, trying to put Fortunato at ease.  He knows that if he pretends that he does not want Fortunato to come, he will want to come even more.  So he makes comments about his health, and says he will have someone else look at the wine, and Fortunato wants to come desperately because his ego is stroked.

Another reason it is so easy to get Fortunato into the cellar is because he is drunk, since “he had been drinking much.”  He has been partying since it is carnival, an Italian holiday from celebrating after Lent.  This just makes him easy pickings for Montresor.

Montresor uses his knowledge of human nature, and Fortunato, to get Fortunato into the cave.  He realizes that if he tells him not to go, he will want to go even more.  He also knows that if he pretends to worry about his health, he will never suspect he is about to be murdered.  Just because you are crazy doesn't mean you aren't also smart!

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

In the story "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe, Montressor spends a long time plotting to kill Fortunato. He first ingratiates himself with his intended victim, so that Fortunato will trust him. He also discovers Fortunato's weaknesses, and especially his obsessive interest in fine wines.

At the time of the carnival, Montressor makes sure his servants are out of the way and then searches out Fortunato, and remarks 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."

Because this is a very rare vintage, Fortunato is interested in tasting it. Montressor also flatters Fortunato by pretending to want his expertise in judging its quality and authenticity. Montressor tells Fortunato that the Amontillado is in his cellars, and uses that to lure Fortunato into the cellar. When Fortunato appears to get tired with the long walk underground, Montressor continues to talk about the Amontillado and plies him with Medoc (a French red wine) to sustain his energy and keep him too drunk to resist or become suspicious.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

“But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts.”

Edgar Allan Poe makes every element in his story serve a dual or multiple purpose, in keeping with his well-known dictum regarding the short story that

In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design.

When Montresor tells Fortunato, “I have my doubts” and then repeats these exact words twice more, he is using a ploy he has carefully worked out and patiently rehearsed. By telling his intended victim that he has doubts about the quality of the wine he is virtually inviting the other man to impose on him. If Fortunato samples the wine and finds it to be genuine, he can shake his head and say that it is only ordinary sherry—then rush off to find the seller and buy up the entire cargo. This is the kind of trick Fortunato is quite capable of playing, and Montresor knows it from prior experience. By giving his enemy the opportunity to play another trick--to inflict another “injury”--Montresor is augmenting Fortunato’s motivation to accompany him to the catacombs.

By expressing doubts about the wine, Montresor is suggesting that he would have bought more if he had been sure of its quality. He says he got a bargain. This would explain why he is in such a hurry to obtain an expert opinion . He claims to be on his way to Luchesi that very evening, indicating that he would buy more as soon as possible if only he were sure it was the real Amontillado. If Fortunato should decline to accompany Montresor to his vaults immediately, he could find himself competing with both Luchesi and Montresor for the remainder of the shipment the next morning.

The third paragraph of Poe’s story suggests that all three of these men, Montresor, Fortunato, and Luchesi, are gentlemen traders or brokers dealing in expensive merchandise such as paintings, antiques, gemmary (jewelry), and no doubt in gourmet wines, their main customers being “Britisn and Austrian millionaires.” They are colleagues, competitors, friendly enemies, living in the ancient, decaying city of Venice where old families must occasionally part with heirlooms in order to exist or where the death of a patriarch might force the liquidation of an entire estate.

By telling Fortunato he has doubts about “what passes for Amontillado,” Montresor is insuring himself against becoming suspected of some sort of plot. If Fortunato for some reason is unable or unwilling to go to Montresor’s palazzo that evening, he is sure to question him about the wine later on. Montresor can bring him a bottle of sherry from his vault and tell him it is from the cask he just acquired. Fortunato would drink a glass and tell him truthfully that it was just fairly good Spanish sherry and definitely not Amontillado, and that would be the end of it. Montresor could explain that he had been unable to find Luchesi on the previous evening. But if Fortunato got the idea that the so-called Amontillado had never really existed, he would become extremely suspicious of Montresor’s friendship and his intentions. Montresor would have to bide his time and think of an entirely new way of disposing of Fortunato without getting caught.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

It should be noted that Fortunato does not need to go with Montresor to the underground vaults or catacombs in order to sample the Amontillado (if it existed). Once Fortunato learns that Amontillado is available for sale at a bargain price, he could easily find the seller for himself. No doubt a shipload of casks of Amontillado has just arrived in port (at least according to Montresor’s story). That ship (if it existed) would be easy for a man with Fortunato’s experience to find, and he could sample the wine aboard the ship and probably buy directly from the captain.

Montresor knows that Fortunato would think this way, because he has had plenty of dealings with the man in the past and has frequently been injured by him in business transactions. When Fortunato says, “Impossible!” he is only expressing his surprise that a shipload of gourmet wine should have arrived without his having heard about it. He assumes that he has missed out on this information because he has been drinking and carousing during the carnival season.

Montresor only entices Fortunato to his palazzo by telling him he is on his way to consult Luchesi. Fortunato doesn’t want Luchesi to hear about the shipload of Amontillado, because Luchesi would go searching for it on the waterfront himself. Then Fortunato would be competing with Luchesi in bargaining for the wine. Presumably either one of them would buy the entire shipload. Poor Montresor would have bought more than one cask if he had been sure of its quality, but he could not afford to buy the entire cargo of wine under any circumstances. At best he could buy another cask or two (if it existed!).

So Fortunato decides to go with Montresor. The alternative, if Luchesi had not been mentioned, would have been to decline to go with Montresor on any pretext, find the ship and sample the wine on board. But now what Fortunato is probably planning is to taste Montresor’s wine, shake his head, and tell him it is only ordinary sherry—then go looking for the ship, having eliminated both Montresor and Luchesi as potential competitors. And when Fortunato had beaten his competitors out of all the valuable Amontillado, he would laugh and call it “an excellent jest.”

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

It is a common mistake to believe that Fortunato is mainly interested in drinking a glass of Amontillado and also showing off his connoisseurship of wine. Montresor tells him he has bought a cask at a bargain price. Both men refer to the cask as a “pipe,” which is a cask containing 126 gallons. Naturally Fortunato assumes there must be more for sale, probably a whole shipload newly arrived from Spain. He wants to buy some for himself. Being rich, he could afford to buy the entire shipload. Neither man is mainly interested in the Amontillado for personal consumption. The third paragraph of Poe’s story strongly suggests that they both buy and sell luxury goods, which would include fine wines as well as “paintings and gemmary.” Luchesi is also in this business, and Fortunato is anxious to buy up the wine before Luchesi hears about it. But he has to taste it to make sure it is genuine Amontillado. Montresor has told him, “I have my doubts.” Montresor implies that he probably would have bought more of the wine himself if he had been sure of its quality. Fortunato may have been planning to taste the wine and tell Montresor it is ordinary sherry even if it is excellent Amontillado, then find the ship and buy up the entire cargo. Injuries like these are among the “thousand injuries” Montresor has suffered at Fortunato’s hands over the years, since Fortunato is richer and better connected in Italy. He is not just eager to drink a glass of Amontillado deep underground at night. Surely he could buy plenty of glasses of Amontillado in the city if he wanted that particular wine. He does not really believe that Luchesi is an “ignoramus.” He is afraid of Luchesi and wants Montresor to believe that this competitor is an unreliable judge of wines. Montresor knows from past experience exactly what Fortunato is thinking and planning. If he beats Montresor out of purchasing more of the Amontillado, he will laugh and say it was “an excellent jest.”

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Montressor feels insulted by Fortunado and plots to kill him.  While we are not told the nature of this insult, we do know how Montressor completes his plan.  Making sure all of the servants are gone for the evening, Montressor lures Fortuando back to his house and the catacombs beneath it.  He assure Fortuando that he has a cask of very expensive and popular wine stored in the catacombs.  Fortunado cannot believe that Montressor has found such a wonderful wine in the middle of the Carnival season.  He counts himself lucky and heads into the catacombs with Montressor.  He begins to feel unnerved but Montressor calms him with flattery and wine.  He assures Fortunado that he needs his opinion since Fortuando is a great wine taster and has superior knowledge of wines.  Fortunado is reassured by this flatter to continue farther into the catacombs where he will meet his demise.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

In The Cask of Amontillado, Montresor uses Fortunato's own pride against him. Montresor knows that Fortunato prides himself on being knowledgeable about wine, so he comes up with the right kind of bait to trap such a man. First, Montresor mentions that he purchased a cask of what the sellers claimed to be Amontillado, but he was not so sure; he says that he should have asked Fortunato before making the purchase, but he feared losing the deal. Not only does this peak Fortunato's interest (as it is apparently unusual to be able to acquire an entire cask of Amontillado at that time of year), but it starts the inflation of Fortunato's ego. After saying that he should have consulted Fortunato, he immediately takes the opportunity away by saying that he is going to go ask another man, Luchesi, about it instead, thus taunting Fortunato with what could have been. Fortunato rises to the taunts, however, and claims that Luchesi is not as good as he is, so Montresor should forget Luchesi and let him test it out instead. Montresor declines, saying that he does not wish to interrupt Fortunato's partying, and this false refusal only makes Fortunato argue for it even more. Even once they are down in Montresor's vaults, he tries to convince Fortunato to leave, making Fortunato repeatedly say that he wants to stay. Thus, Montresor makes Fortunato believe that it was his own idea to help out Montresor with the Amontillado, when in fact, it was what Montresor wanted all along.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Montresor takes a long time to fashion an elaborate lie that will entice Fortunato into the catacombs beneath his palazzo, where he can murder him. In the first paragraph, Montresor says

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.

He wants his plan to be foolproof. When he encounters Fortunato celebrating on the streets during the carnival season, Montresor tells him his finely honed falsehood.

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.”

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

“I have my doubts,” I replied; “and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain.....As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me—”

A pipe contains 126 gallons. Neither of these men would want the equivalent of 500 quart bottles of Amontillado sherry for personal consumption. They are not even sherry drinkers. The word "bargain" is what captures Fortunato's interest. He knows Montresor only bought the wine for resale. Many first-time readers of the story assume Fortunato wants to taste the delicious wine and show off his connoisseurship. This is not at all true. He is interested in the "bargain." He is a rich man. He could buy up the whole cargo of big oak barrels of fine Spanish sherry and make a small fortune. The wine only improves with age, so he could take his time about bottling and selling it by the case, probably to those British and Austrian millionaires Montresor mentions in his introduction. 

Fortunato doesn't need to taste Montresor's wine at all. He could go to the harbor and find a newly arrived Spanish ship with ease. There would be a whole shipload of Amontillado to sample, and he could make the deal on board. But Montresor has foreseen that possibility. He inserts the name Luchesi so that, if Fortunato declined to come to his palazzo immediately, Montresor could continue on his way on the pretext of consulting another connoisseur, and possible buyer, about his Amontillado. Fortunato can't let that happen. He must accompany Montresor to his home to keep him from talking to Luchesi. Otherwise, Fortunato would be competing with Luchesi in buying up the imaginary cargo of imaginary wine.

It was essential for Montresor to get Fortunato to his palazzo right away. Otherwise, if there was any delay at all, Fortunato could find out there was no Spanish ship, no Amontillado. Montresor would not only lose the chance to kill Fortunato, but he would arouse his suspicions. That would make it infinitely harder to entrap him at some time in the future. Montresor does not actually say that he has bought a pipe of Amontillado from a Spanish ship. He says:

"But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts.”

The cunning Montresor has left himself a loophole. If necessary, he could make up some barely plausible lie, such as that he bought the pipe from a Venetian who had had it in his cellar for some time. But he doesn't have to do that. Fortunato imagines a Spanish ship full of big barrels of gourmet sherry which he can buy at a bargain price and sell at a great profit. He does not question Montresor any further because he does not want his gullible, trusting friend to suspect that he would be interested in buying any of the wine himself. He can go to Montresor's palazzo, taste the wine, make sure it is genuine, then get away and find this Spanish ship. No doubt he already plans to tell Montresor the wine is only ordinary sherry, just to eliminate him as a buyer. Montresor could only be so anxious to get an expert to sample his wine that night  if he intended to buy more while it was still being offered as a bargain. If it really is just ordinary sherry, Fortunato can forget about it. If it is genuine, he can buy up the whole cargo.

Montresor knows Fortunato thoroughly. He has had plenty of experience with this man. He knows what his shrewd, unscrupulous friendly enemy is thinking and planning. Fortunato has swallowed the whole cunning lie hook, line and sinker. He wants to rush to Montresor's palazzo as quickly as they can get there.

“Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Amontillado! You have been imposed upon. And as for Luchesi, he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado.”

Thus speaking, Fortunato possessed himself of my arm; and putting on a mask of black silk and drawing a roquelaire closely about my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

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 is the third paragraph of "The Cask of Amontillado" quoted in full. It conveys two main ideas. One is that Montresor is not an Italian but a Frenchman. He distances himself from the Italians by his disparagement of their judgment of "painting and gemmary." His family may have lived in Venice for several centuries, but he is still an outsider as far as the upper-class Italians are concerned. His catacombs may be full of human bones--but these are not necessarily all bones of his ancestors. He may not have cleared out the bones that did not belong to his family because there was no place to put them; or there may be some law against such removal. In fact, it is quite possible that Montresor doesn't even own his palazzo but is renting it. He is obviously not affluent. He says that he bought largely (of Italian wines) "whenever I could." That should be interpreted to mean whenever he could affordto. There would always be plenty of Italian wines available.

The other main idea conveyed in Poe's third paragraph is that both Montresor and Fortunato are specialists in luxury goods and must both be earning their livings through buying and selling expensive merchandise to wealthy people. They are in the same line of business, but they are also competitors. While Montresor is poor, Fortunato is rich. It is very likely that the "thousand injuries" which Montresor does not explain are injuries suffered in business deals. Fortunato can outbid him. Fortunato can afford to buy in larger quantities. And Fortunato has family connections going back for over a thousand years. Italians would favor him because of his family status. If there is something good to be bought at a bargain price, Fortunato is more likely to hear about it before Montresor.

When Montresor tells Fortunato that he has bought a cask of Amontillado, Fortunato says, "Impossible!" What he really means is that it would be impossible for Montresor to learn about such a cargo of valluable wine before he did. But this is carnival season and Fortunato has been drinking and not attending to business. He thinks this is why Montresor has gotten ahead of him. However, Montresor has only bought one "pipe" (126 gallons) because, as he says, "I have my doubts" (about the genuineness of the wine). Fortunato is highly motivated to taste it--not because he needs any more wine, not because he is anxious to show off his connoisseurship, not to accommodate a friend--but because he wants to buy some of the Amontillado himself for resale. But he himself must taste it to make sure it is genuine, since Montresor has repeatedly expressed his doubts. Fortunato can afford to buy the whole cargo and make a big profit--and Montresor knows that is exactly what Fortunato is planning to do because that is exactly the sort of injurious thing Fortunato has done in the past.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

In one of the early paragraphs of Poe's story Montresor suggests that both he and Fortunato deal in wines, paintings and gemmary. They sell to British and Austrian millionaires. Montresor states: "I was skillful in the Italian vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I could." That must mean whenever he could afford to. He tells Fortunato that he got a bargain on the cask of Amontillado. Fortunato is rich, whereas Montresor admits that he has fallen on hard times. Fortunato is thinking that he could buy a much larger quantity of the wine if it truly is Amontillado and then resell it in smaller quantities at a profit. The wine in wooden casks would only improve with age, so he could dispose of it at his convenience. So greed lures him to Montresor's home, in addition to the challenge to his connoisseurship and his fear that if he doesn't come immediately he might be beaten out of a deal by Luchesi. Montresor has to pretend to have bought an imported wine, not a domestic wine, because, for one thing, he is himself a connoisseur of Italian vintages.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

In “The Cask of Amontillado”, Montressor persuades Fortunato to come to his home and particularly down into the catacombs, by appealing to Fortunato’s  love of wine and his arrogance in being able to discern different types of wine. Montressor knows that Fortunato will not be able to resist the lure of the rare Amontillado wine;  Montressor  goes so far as to say that he will ask another wine connoisseur to evaluate his wine.  Indeed, once Fortunato hears that Montressor might possess the Amontillado, he is insistent that Montressor lead him to the cask so that he may sample it and verify its type.  In the end, it is Fortunato’s  arrogance that seals his fate and allows Montressor to end his life.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

In the "The Cask of Amontillado" Montressor makes a point of telling the reader that he does not have a very good relationship with Fortunado; we know that Montressor is determined to get his revenge on this man for some wrong that he has done to him.  Montressor begins a conversation with Fortunado at a party and tells him that he has a cask of a very rare wine called Amontillado at his house; since Fortunado prides himself in being a conesseur of wine, Montressor knows that Fortunado would like to have some of this wine.  Montressor then tells Fortunado that he has changed his mind about allowing Fortunado to test it and says that he would invite a man named Luchesi to test it instead.  Upon hearing this, Fortunado gets annoyed and almost begs Montressor to allow him to go to his home to taste this wine.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Montresor persuade Fortunato to follow him to the catacomb in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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 is the third paragraph of "The Cask of Amontillado" quoted in full. It conveys two main ideas. One is that Montresor is not an Italian but a Frenchman. He distances himself from the Italians by his disparagement of their judgment of "painting and gemmary." His family may have lived in Venice for several centuries, but he is still an outsider as far as the upper-class Italians are concerned. His catacombs may be full of human bones--but these are not necessarily all bones of his ancestors. He may not have cleared out the bones that did not belong to his family because there was no place to put them; or there may be some law against such removal. In fact, it is quite possible that Montresor doesn't even own his palazzo but is renting it. He is obviously not affluent. He says that he bought largely (of Italian wines) "whenever I could." That should be interpreted to mean whenever he could affordto. There would always be plenty of Italian wines available.

The other main idea conveyed in Poe's third paragraph is that both Montresor and Fortunato are specialists in luxury goods and must both be earning their livings through buying and selling expensive merchandise to wealthy people. They are in the same line of business, but they are also competitors. While Montresor is poor, Fortunato is rich. It is very likely that the "thousand injuries" which Montresor does not explain are injuries suffered in business deals. Fortunato can outbid him. Fortunato can afford to buy in larger quantities. And Fortunato has family connections going back for over a thousand years. Italians would favor him because of his family status. If there is something good to be bought at a bargain price, Fortunato is more likely to hear about it before Montresor.

When Montresor tells Fortunato that he has bought a cask of Amontillado, Fortunato says, "Impossible!" What he really means is that it would be impossible for Montresor to learn about such a cargo of valluable wine before he did. But this is carnival season and Fortunato has been drinking and not attending to business. He thinks this is why Montresor has gotten ahead of him. However, Montresor has only bought one "pipe" (126 gallons) because, as he says, "I have my doubts" (about the genuineness of the wine). Fortunato is highly motivated to taste it--not because he needs any more wine, not because he is anxious to show off his connoisseurship, not to accommodate a friend--but because he wants to buy some of the Amontillado himself for resale. But he himself must taste it to make sure it is genuine, since Montresor has repeatedly expressed his doubts. Fortunato can afford to buy the whole cargo and make a big profit--and Montresor knows that is exactly what Fortunato is planning to do because that is exactly the sort of injurious thing Fortunato has done in the past.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Montresor persuade Fortunato to follow him to the catacomb in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor tells Fortunato that he has bought some wine that he thinks is Amontillado, but he needs an expert opinion to tell him if it is genuine. Montresor flatters Fortunato in order to get him down in the catacombs. He knows Fortunato considers himself an expert of wines, so he uses that to lure him to his death.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Montresor knows that Fortunato will be celebrating the "supreme madness of the carnival season," and that he will have been drinking heavily. Montresor also knows Fortunato's weakness: his love of spirits. Montresor concocts the story of the rare bottle of Amontillado (a Spanish sherry) knowing that Fortunato will not be able to resist the urge to sample it. Cleverly, Montresor also suggests that a mutual acquaintance, Luchesi, is available to give his opinion of the vintage if Fortunato is not able. Fortunato has no plans to allow someone else to spoil his chance, so he willingly follows Montresor deep into his catacombs, which also serve as a wine cellar. Despite the bones that are scattered throughout their path, Fortunato does not fear or mistrust Montresor: His thoughts are only on the Amontillado.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

The initial lure is the wine; he has mentioned how fond Fortunado is of wine, especially the fact that "he prided himself on his connoisseur-ship in wine." Montresor appeals to Fortunado's pride on the issue of being a wine-expert. Of the supposed Amontillado that he purchased, he says to Fortunado, "I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter." This strokes Fortunado's ego and piques his interest; now he'll just have to take a look for himself! So that is how he gets him down there in the first place.

Once in the tombs, he uses one other tactic-reverse psychology, again working on Fortunado's pride. Every time Fortunado hesitates or coughs, Montresor stops and insists the return. In one case he states, "“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." Here he flatters Fortunado and feigns concern for him. This has two effects: to make Fortunado feel he must prove his manliness by continuing, and by making him feel like he won't get to see the wine, which makes him more determined to see it.

A third tactic Montresor employs is getting Fortunado more drunk. At one point he grabs a bottle of wine and says, "'Drink,' presenting him the wine. He raised it to his lips with a leer" and drank an entire swig, getting more drunk as they continue.

So, by combining the psychological techniques of ego-stroking, flattery, reverse psychology, removal of the object of his desire (the wine) AND by getting him rip-roaring drunk, Montresor manages to lead Fortunado to his demise.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Montresor lure Fortunato into the catacombs?

Although Montressor has well prepared his revenge in "The Cask of Amontillado," he pretends to allow Fortunato the option of following him into the catacombs to taste the non-existent Amontillado. When Montressor sees that Fortunato is drunk (which he knew would be the case) and has a cold, he tells him not to bother--Montressor will simply allow Luchesi to give his assessment of the vintage. When Fortunato's cough worsens as they descend lower through the nitre-encrusted walls, Montressor begs him to go back. Fortunato replies that he "will not die from a cold." Montressor knows, however, that Fortunato's love of the rare Amontillado is too tantalizing for him to refuse.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are three clever tactics Montresor uses to trap Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

1). Montresor carries out his wicked revenge on Fortunato during a carnival. This means that everyone will be out and about enjoying themselves, and so there won't be anyone around to notice Montresor luring Fortunato down to the catacombs. As it's carnival time, Fortunato is also wearing motley, or a jester's costume, which will make it virtually impossible for anyone to identify him, even if they weren't already preoccupied with having a good time.

2). Montresor chooses the carnival as he knows that all his servants will be out enjoying themselves, along with everyone else. It's not enough for Montresor to kill Fortunato; he has to get away with it as well. And what better way to avoid being caught than to ensure that there's absolutely no one around to witness this dastardly crime and its aftermath?

3). Montresor expertly plays upon Fortunato's enormous vanity. Fortunato fancies himself as a wine connoisseur, and Montresor knows that his sworn enemy will be unable to resist the opportunity, not just to taste a drop of the finest Amontillado but also to show off his extensive knowledge of fine wine. The beauty of this plan is that, drunk or sober, Fortunato would've been unable to resist accompanying Montresor down to the cellars.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are three clever tactics Montresor uses to trap Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

One of the most clever things Montresor does in entrapping Fortunato is to make sure that his intended victim is not expected at home or anywhere else that night. Montresor twice pretends to believe that Fortunato has an engagement. First he says:

“As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me—”

This also introduces the idea that if Fortunato should refuse to accompany Montresor to his palazzo for any reason, Montresor would immediately go to Luchesi to ask him to judge his wine. Fortunato responds to the mention of Luchesi but not to the supposition that he is "engaged." Montresor must find out. He wants to leave a cold trail. If Fortunato is expected anywhere that night, Montresor will probably postpone his revenge. Again he brings up his enemy's supposed engagement, and this time he gets the information he wants:

“My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Luchesi—”

“I have no engagement;—come.”

A second clever thing Montresor does at the beginning of the tale is to repeat that he has "doubts" about the authenticity of the Amontillado. If Fortunato does not come to Montresor's palazzo that night for any reason, such as an engagement or his bad cold, then Fortunato will certainly want to know more about the wine the next time he sees Montresor. Since the wine does not exist, Montresor will bring Fortunato a bottle of ordinary sherry and tell him it came from the cask he just purchased. Fortunato will, of course, judge it not to be true Amontillado, and that will be the end of the matter. 

Montresor shows great patience and foresight in his revenge scheme. When he has Fortunato chained to the wall and his victim pretends that he is expected that night by his wife and a houseful of guests, Montresor cannot be frightened into unlocking the padlock. A third clever thing he did, which shows his patience and foresight, was to condition himself to think of Fortunato as his "friend" and to address him and refer to him as such repeatedly over a long period of time. When it is discovered that Fortunato has disappeared, there will be a big investigation. Naturally people will suspect foul play--but no one will suspect Montresor because he is known to be Fortunato's very good friend. Montresor himself will undoubtedly continue to inquire after Fortunato for a long time after his mysterious disappearance. In fact, the uproar occasioned by Fortunato's disappearance, along with the pain it causes Fortunato's wife and relatives, will contribute to Montresor's enjoyment of his perfect revenge. Fortunato himself has been lulled into trusting Montresor by being repeatedly addressed by him as "my friend," as Montresor does throughout his narrative.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are three clever tactics Montresor uses to trap Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor pretends to believe that Fortunato has an "engagement"; that is, that he is expected somewhere that night. He hopes Fortunato will either confirm or deny it. The first time Montresor mentions a presumed engagement, Fortunato does not respond. The second time he mentions an engagement, Fortunato gives Montresor the information he requires when he says, "I have no engagement. Come!" Much later when Fortunato is chained to the rock wall, he will try to frighten Montresor into releasing him by asserting two things: (1) that people have seen him and Montresor together on the streets and supposed they were on their way to Fortunato's palazzo, and (2) that he is expected at his home by Lady Fortunato "and the rest." Fortunato also treats his entrapment as a big joke, offering Montresor an excuse and an alibi at the same time he is trying to plant a grain of fear in his captor's mind. If Fortunato is really expected that night and doesn't show up, then servants, relatives and guests could all be out searching for him with torches. Montresor wants to leave a cold trail. He doesn't want Fortunato missed until the next morning at the earliest, by which time everybody will be recovering from hangovers. If Montresor were foolish enough to release his captive and go along with the fantastic pretense that this was all a big joke, Fortunato would act as if they were the best of friends until he got out of those dreadful catacombs--but later Montresor would be found in an alley with his throat cut. Montresor describes his friendly enemy as a man to be respected and even feared. Fortunato does not succeed in unnerving his captor because Montresor had the foresight to find out that Fortunato had no "engagement."

Montresor's only excuse for pretending to believe Fortunato has an engagement is that he supposedly has had a hard time finding him. If Fortunato were to ask, "What makes you think I have an engagement?", Montresor would probably reply, "I have been searching all over for you and had decided that you must be on your way to a celebration of some sort at a private home." Something of that sort. Montresor has been fine-tuning his revenge plot for years. He has formed the habit of speaking of Fortunato as his friend, his good friend, etc., and has even conditioned himself to think of Fortunato as his good friend. He knows this will create a strong impression that he and Fortunato are very good friends. He probably never mentions Fortunato's name without saying, "My friend Fortunato," "My old friend Fortunato," or "My good friend Fortunato." The only purpose for this is that, when Fortunato turns up missing, no one will have the slightest suspicion that Montresor could have had anything to do with his disaappearance. Montresor knows that the inquiry will be large and long. Fortunato is an important man. People will be talking about the mystery for years. Montresor himself will have to be one of the people who shows the most concern for the longest period of time. He will be continually asking if there is any news about his good friend Fortunato.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are three clever tactics Montresor uses to trap Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Montresor plays upon Fortunato’s ego in order to lure him into his trap. “He had a weak point—this Fortunato….He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine.”

Fortunato plays upon this pride.  First, he tells Fortunato about the Amontillado, which he says he doubts is authentic.  Next, he tells Fortunato that he is on his way to see Luchesi, another connoisseur, to ask his opinion.  Montresor  then gives reasons why Fortunato should not go with him to examine the wine—a previous engagement and Fortunato’s obvious illness.  Fortunato dismisses these things and insists he go with Montresor to taste the wine.  All the while, Montresor alludes to imposing upon Luchesi instead of Fortunato.  Finally, Fortunato says, “And as for Luchesi, he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado.”  Fortunato's ego will not permit him to allow his friend to consult another connoisseur. They then hurry to Montresor’s palazzo.

As they proceed to the vaults, Montresor continues to implore Fortunato to leave because of his health.  He also continues to say that he can request Luchesi’s aid to authenticate the Amontillado.  Because of the nitre which is causing Fortunato to cough, Montresor  gives him Medoc to drink, proceeding to get his friend drunk.  In his intoxicated state, Fortunato is easily fooled into his grave, still in search of the illusive Amontillado.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are three clever tactics Montresor uses to trap Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor is the narrator of "the Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe, and he holds a serious grudge against his friend Fortunato. Montresor is intent on getting his revenge against Fortunato for some imagined insult, and to do that he creates an elaborate plan to kill Fortunato.

Montresor is not a sane man but he is clever, and the plan he devises necessitates some creative thinking on his part. First of all, Montresor must hide his feelings of hatred for Fortunato. He does this so successfully that throughout the entire plan, and even at the end, Fortunato has no clue that Montresor wants to kill him.

Second, Montresor chooses Carnival time to enact his plan; this guarantees that Fortunato will not be immediately missed, buying Montresor some time if he needs it. Brilliant.

Third, Montresor must be able to bring Fortunato to his empty house. To do that, he does the simplest and most clever thing he can think of to do during Carnival time:

I had told them [the servants] that I should not return until the morning and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned.

It is an ingenious move to tell the servants that he will not be home but he does not want them to go anywhere; it is human nature for them to disobey under such circumstances, and they do.

Next Montresor has to lure Fortunato away from the Carnival festivities. Montresor determines that the only way he can get Fortunato to leave the celebration is to appeal to his pride as a wine connoisseur. Montresor lies and tells Fortunato he has a cask of Amontillado, a nearly impossible feat during Carnival time. When Fortunato is dismissive of the claim, Montressor argues that he needs someone to test it and then suggests Luchesi, Fortunato's rival, should be the one to test the wine. Of course Fortunato does not want to be outdone by his competition, so he insists on going to taste the wine. Every time Fortunato wavers, Montresor mentions Luchesi and that is enough to keep Fortunado moving. It is an ingenious strategy.

Finally, Montresor has to lure Fortunato into the lowest point in his home, the crypt. To do that, he feigns (pretends) concern for Fortunato's health and keeps giving him medicinal draughts of wine. This keeps Fortunato drunk or tipsy enough to keep moving without too many questions or hesitations.

In short, Montresor is successful in developing and executing a clever plan to lure Fortunato to his death; however, it may have been just a bit too clever, since Fortunato never realized why Montresor wanted him dead.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are three clever tactics Montresor uses to trap Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor certainly is ready with his bag of tricks when it comes time to lure Fortunato into the catacombs. First, he introduces the prospect of a rare bottle of Amontillado when it is, in fact, nonexistent. The possibility of sampling the vintage is enough to keep Fortunato interested until it is too late. Secondly, Montresor has chosen the "supreme madness of the carnival season" to use as a background for his murder. The noise, costumes and alcohol provide a screen for his plan; additionally, he has told his servants that he will be out for the entire evening, knowing that it would 

... insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned.

With no witnesses, Montresor and Fortunato alone descend deeper into the tombs. Again, Montresor has planned ahead. He tells Fortunato that the Amontillado is near, at "the most remote end of the crypt." But instead of finding Amontillado, Fortunato finds his final resting place. Montresor has already visited the area, hiding mortar amongst the loose stones; he has chains attached to iron staples in the granite in which to subdue Fortunato. He even carries a trowel with him, the final tool of his perfect crime.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are some things that show that Montresor is cunning in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor uses Fortunato's pride to entice him to go and try the Amontillado. Montresor notes Fortunato's weakness in the third paragraph: 

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. 

Knowing this, Montresor intended to exact his revenge on Fortunato by exploiting that weakness. He first mentions that he has the Amontillado but has his doubts about it, encouraging Fortunato to brag about his connoisseurship. Montresor then adds that he's going to ask Luchesi to sample the Amontillado in order to give him a judgment on it. Montresor knows Fortunato will say that he is the more seasoned wine taster. Fortunato adds, "And as for Luchesi, he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado." 

As they go further in to the catacombs, Montresor continuously suggests that they go back to save Fortunato's health and nagging cough. Fortunato, in his pride, takes this as a dare, as if Montresor is daring him to continue on. Fortunato urges them to continue on; thus, Montresor makes Fortunato the captain of the journey that will lead to his end (Fortunato's). 

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are three clever tactics Montresor uses to trap Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

  • Montresor twice pretends to think Fortunato is expected somewhere that evening. For example: “As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me—” Fortunato finally says, "I am not engaged;--come!" Montresor does not want people out looking for Fortunato that night if he is expected at home or somewhere else and doesn't show up. He wants to leave a cold trail and not have people inquiring about his victim until tomorrow morning at the earliest. His mention of Luchesi is intended to motivate Fortunato to accompany him to his palazzo immediately. He can't make an appointment for Fortunato to come to his palazzo at some later time--even an hour or two later--because Fortunato could easily tell someone he was going to Montresor's home. Then when Fortunato turned up missing and the police started making inquiries, they would want to question Montresor and even search his premises. He wants to be above suspicion--which is why he has conditioned himself, not only to call Fortunato his friend, but actually to think of him as "my friend," "my good friend," and "my poor friend," as shown throughout his narrative.
  • Montresor tells Fortunato he bought the Amontillado impulsively because he didn't want to lose a "bargain." "Bargain" is the key word. Now he wants to make sure it is genuine. Why? He has already paid for it and had it delivered to his vaults. Obviously he would buy more at a bargain price if only he could be sure it is genuine Amontillado. A lot of us can have second thoughts about "bargains." We find out there is something wrong with whatever it was we purchased. Fortunato is not interested in helping Montresor or in showing off his connoisseurship. He is interested in the "bargain." He wants to get in on it.
  • Montresor constantly uses what is called "reverse psychology." When he and his victim are down in the catacombs, he keeps suggesting that they turn back. Fortunato is drunk, and drunkards are notoriously contrary and stubborn. If your friend has been drinking too heavily and wants to drive home, you will have a very hard time getting him to let you drive his car. Montresor's fake concern about Fortunato's health makes him seem completely innocent. Why would he be suggesting that they turn back if he had any ulterior purpose in moving forward? Here is an example of his reverse psychology: “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. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi—”
Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are three clever tactics Montresor uses to trap Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor has never given Fortunato reason to doubt his goodness. Therefore, Montresor has no problem luring Fortunato to his death. But the number one strategy Montresor uses on Fortunato is to use his (Fortunato's) pride against him. 

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. 

Montresor tells Fortunato he is not sure about his wine being Amontillado. Montresor knows Fortunato will not be able to resist showing off his knowledge of wines, so he insists on going to Montresor's vaults in order to test the wine. 

Montresor also continues to encourage Fortunato to drink as they descend further into the vaults. This keeps Fortunato drunk enough to ignore his cough, to continue to suspect nothing sinister about Montresor, and to continue his proud quest to prove his superior knowledge of wine.  

Montresor continues to use Fortunato's pride against him. Although the light is too dim for Fortunato to proceed, Montresor mentions Luchesi, another wine connoisseur; Fortunato proceeds in order to prove his superiority over Luchesi. 

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are three clever tactics Montresor uses to trap Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Crazy though he may be, Montresor certainly uses his wits in his revenge on Fortunato. First, he hides his true feelings in order to lure Montresor into a false sense of security; he doesn't let on that he has experienced any change of feelings.

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.

Montresor also chooses his bait well. He picks something he knows Fortunato cannot refuse: the chance to inspect a very valuable old wine—a cask of Amontillado.

He also is very clever in recognizing his friend's vice: his pride. He knows that if he appears to give preference to another wine expert's  advice, Fortunato will be anxious to prove himself and prepared to go anywhere and drop anything to do so.

"Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry."

"And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own."

"Come, let us go."

He also chooses carnival time to get his revenge, when the streets are crowded, people are less attentive, his servants are out making merry, and he himself can wear a disguise: "a mask of black silk and ... a roquelaire." It also helps ensure that Fortunato isn't thinking clearly—he's already drunk, since his eyes betray "the rheum of intoxication." He also cleverly works to keep his friend that way: "A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps."

What's more, he has clearly prepared the scene; he has the chains ready so that it is "the work of a few seconds" to loop them around Fortunato and lock him in.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are three clever tactics Montresor uses to trap Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor is the protagonist and narrator of "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe, and he is clearly not sane. Despite that fact, he is quite clever. He feels he has been somehow injured by a fellow wine connoisseur named Fortunato, and Montresor determines that he has been pushed too far and must now take his revenge on his colleague Fortunato.

Two things are crucial to Montresor's plan working, and both of them involve his use of psychology to make things happen. The first is that no one at all must be in his house so he can dispose of Fortunato as he wishes without fear of discovery. It is Carnival time, and of course Montresor is perfectly bright enough to know that all of his servants would rather be out celebrating than doing their jobs on his estate. Montresor makes a brilliant move:

There were no attendants at home; they had absconded to make merry in honour of the time. I had told them that I should not return until the morning, and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned.

This is a bold example of reverse psychology. Montresor does not say he even checked to see if they left; he simply knew they would all be gone. This is a great example of Montresor using psychological trickery, but it is also an indication that in some respects Montresor is capable of rational, even exceptional thinking. 

The second thing that must happen if Montresor's plan is going to succeed is that he must find a way to lure the unsuspecting Fortunato not only back to his estate but into the crypts below the house. To do this, Montresor appeals to Fortunato's weakness--his pride.

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.

Because Fortunato is so certain he has the best wine palate in the city, Montresor simply lies and tells Fortunato that he has a cask of Amontillado, something Fortunato could not believe without tasting it. Every single time Montresor senses that Fortunato is wavering in his resolve to follow Montresor to the non-existent cask of wine, Montresor invokes the name of Luchresi, a man Fortunato claims "cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado."

This appeal to Fortunato's excessive pride does work (and is something that might have worked on Montresor, as well, as he is equally proud of his wine palate) and he follows Montresor all the way to his doom. One added strategy is that Montresor consistently gives wine as "medicine" to Fortunato for his cough, getting Fortunato drunk enough that he does not question Montresor's acts as much as he might.

This deliberate and rather intricate plan relies on Montresor's keen mind and knowledge of human nature, something quite confounding in a man who is obviously not sane.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What strategy does Montresor use to manipulate Fortunato to his death in The Cask of Amontillado?

The means of influence and manipulation used by Montresor to lure Fortunato to his death included his basic planning of the time to carry out his scheme--the time of Mardi Gras--a time of revelry in which many people would be about, costumed, and drink would be flowing freely.  He planned for his servants to be away so that he could lure Fortunato back without fear of interruption, and Fortunato, due to the celebration, was nicely inebriated and easy to coerce, due to his pride in his connoisseurship of wine, with the promise of a cask of Amontillado into Montresor's catacombs.  All of these plans and manipulations worked together to flawlessly accomplish Montresor's well-laid plan.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What strategy does Montresor use to manipulate Fortunato to his death in The Cask of Amontillado?

Gothic literature confronted the established social norms and presented the darker side of the human condition, it challenged the established social and intellectual norms.

Poe uses several established gothic symbols in Montresor's brief encounter with Fortunato that leads to Fortunato's death. Montresor is the "madman" who is seeking revenge on Fortunato, although he never tells us what Fortunato has done that deserves his death. The carnival that helps hide Montresor's actions and Fortunato's cries can linked to the Gothic idea of dreams and the surreal, reality is suspended and allows for actions to occur that otherwise would not be possible. Fortunato's pride, which Montresor plays on to lure him to his home, is what causes his fall and allows him to be led to his own confinement in the wall of the catacomb and destruction. Montresor's home, and particularly the catacombs that he leads Forunato to are symbolic of the hidden depths of Montresor's mind. The ideas of justice and injustice are blurred by the perverse nature of Montresor's punishment and the fact that as readers we are unable to judge for ourselves the extent of the wrong that Fortunato has allegedly done to Montresor.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What three steps does Montresor take to avenge Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

In his efforts to redress the "thousand injuries" that he feels Fortunato has committed against him, Montresor lays a careful plan to ensure that his retribution is performed with "impunity":

  1. He ensures that Fortunato will not be missed by planning his revenge at the time of the "carnival," which is the celebration of Mardi Gras, the day before Lent. People are in masques and costumes and celebrating with libation, so the absence of Fortunato is one that will not easily be observed.
  2. Montresor tempts Fortunato's excessive pride by telling him, "As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchresi.  If any one has a critical turn, it is he. He will tell me--" In jealousy, Fortunato replies, "Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado frm Sherry."
  3. Montresor manipulates Fortunato, urging him not to enter the catacombs because he has a cough and the niter is damaging to the health, knowing full well that the man's pride compels him to enter. Frequently, too, Montresor acts as though he is concerned fot the man's health:  "...we will go back;you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible.  Besides, there is Luchresi-----"
Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What makes Montresor's entrapment scheme successful in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor's scheme to lure Fortunato to his death may be understood from the few lines of dialogue between the two men when they first meet. The following is what Montresor says, with Fortunato's dialogue left out.

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....I have my doubts,” I replied; “and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain....I have my doubts. And I must satisfy them. As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me—”

Montresor has honed his story to perfection. He wants to get Fortunato to come to his palazzo immediately. Otherwise Fortunato might have time to check on the story and find there was no newly arrived shipment of Amontillado in port. Fortunato might also tell other people that he was going to Montresor's home at his request to sample some wine. But Montresor's story forces Fortunato to come immediately if he wants to come at all. Montresor says he is on his way to see Luchesi. He pretends to be in a big hurry to have an expert sample his totally fictitious cask of wine and tell him whether or not it is genuine Amontillado. Why? Because he got it at a bargain price. He only bought one cask because he wasn't sure it was genuine. But he would like to buy more if he can get an expert to taste it and reassure him.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Montresor manipulate Fortunato and exploit his weaknesses in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Even though we hear from our narrator, Montresor, regarding a lifetime of insults and humiliation that have been heaped upon him by the unfortunate Fortunato, we do not experience this behavior during their encounter in the story. What we see is the drunk Fortunato warmly greeting Montresor as an old friend. Because of his knowledge of Fortunato, Montresor is able to approach Fortunato as a friend without incurring any suspicion from Fortunato. Montresor then exploits this trust and his knowledge of Fortunato's character to murder him. Montresor plays upon Fortunato's knowledge of wine and his pride in being a wine connoisseur in order to entice him to follow him deeper and deeper into the catacombs beneath Montresor's home. He then uses Fortunato's disdain for another man, Luchesi, and his wine-tasting abilities to keep Fortunato walking with him deeper into the catacombs.

While walking, Montresor again exploits their friendship by expressing concern for Fortunato's health as his coughing becomes worse within the damp catacombs, though this is also a ruse. He knows Fortunato's personality and conviction will not allow him to turn back. Fortunato's implicit trust of Montresor is exploited to the point where the reader begins to question the reliability of the narrator and whether or not Fortunato deserves his truly unfortunate end.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Montresor manipulate Fortunato and what traits make Fortunato easy prey in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor elaborates on Fortunato's primary character trait that makes him easy prey by stating that his one weak point was that he "prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine." Fortunato's excessive pride in the area of recognizing and tasting fine wines leads to his downfall as he unknowingly follows Montresor to his death. Montresor manipulates Fortunato's pride by mentioning that he acquired what seems to be Amontillado and was on his way to see Luchesi for verification. By mentioning Luchesi's name, Montresor piques Fortunato's interest and plays on his pride, knowing that he cannot resist the opportunity to display his expertise and prove that he is more knowledgeable than Luchesi. Fortunato then displays his arrogance by ridiculing Luchesi and insists on following Montresor to his empty palazzo.

As Montresor leads Fortunato through his family's catacombs, he continues to manipulate his unsuspecting victim by flattering Fortunato and feigning concern for his well-being. Montresor comments that Fortunato is "rich, respected, admired, beloved" and insists on leaving the vaults to prevent Fortunato from becoming ill. Montresor's praise, flattery, and apparent concern for Fortunato's health conceal his evil intentions. Fortunato's overconfidence and bold nature influence him to dismiss Montresor's concerns and continue traveling down the vaults.

On their journey, Fortunato's weakness for wine lowers his inhibitions and further impairs his judgment. Montresor cleverly continues to offer Fortunato large droughts of wine as he lures his unsuspecting victim closer to his death. By the time Fortunato reaches the end of the catacombs, it is too late, and Montresor quickly shackles him to the back wall before building a rampart around his body.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Montresor manipulate Fortunato and what traits make Fortunato easy prey in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

1. Montresor acts amiably towards Fortunato and goes out of his way to approach him in a friendly manner. Fortunato does not expect that Montresor has ill intentions and feels comfortable enough to follow him into his catacombs to try the rare wine.

2. Montresor manipulates Fortunato's arrogance and pride by suggesting that Luchresi is an expert on wine whom he will consult as to whether the Amontillado he purchased is authentic. Montresor is confident that Fortunato will volunteer to taste the Amontillado, because he prides himself on his connoisseurship of wine.

3. Montresor waits for an opportune time to take advantage of Fortunato. When Montresor initially approaches Fortunato, he is somewhat intoxicated from partying at the festival with the other citizens. As Montresor leads Fortunato through his catacombs, he does not discourage Fortunato from drinking along the way. Fortunato's excessive drinking impairs his ability to reason and makes it easier for Montresor to manipulate him.

Some of Fortunato's character traits that make it easier for Montresor to manipulate him include his arrogance, pride, and overconfidence. Fortunato is a man who is both respected and feared. He reveals his pride the moment he rejects Montresor's idea that Luchresi will be able to distinguish whether his wine is authentic or not. Fortunato also feels confident and safe that Montresor will not harm him while in the catacombs.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Montresor manipulate Fortunato and what traits make Fortunato easy prey in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor claims that Fortunato has one "weak point" and this is that he "prided himself on his connoisseurship of wine."  Pride, in general, does seem to be Fortunato's weak point; he thinks highly of himself, and he seems to feel somewhat entitled -- even his name means fortunate one!   It is this quality of Fortunato's that Montresor can use to manipulate him, and his pride, itself, will actually prevent Fortunato from realizing that he is being manipulated by Montresor. 

One of the ways that Montresor manipulates Fortunato by using the man's pride against him is by being somewhat self-deprecating and then admitting that Fortunato is more qualified than he on the subject of wine.  Concerning the supposed pipe of Amontillado, Montresor says, "'I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter [...]."  He implies that he behaved hastily, without due reflection and consultation, and that he would have been smarter to have gotten Fortunato's opinion before he purchased the wine.  Montresor knows that Fortunato will not be able to resist the opportunity to gloat over Montresor's mistake.

Likewise, as the two men descend into the catacombs, Montresor repeatedly insists that they should turn back for the good of Fortunato's health.  The walls are crusted with nitre (potassium nitrate) which makes it difficult for Fortunato, who is already somewhat ill, to breathe.  But Fortunato seems not to want Montresor to be right about anything, and so he denies, over and over, that he is suffering.  Moreover, Montresor tells Fortunato, "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."  Again, Monstresor speaks slightingly of himself in order to flatter Fortunato's pride, and so Fortunato, proudly, rebuffs Montresor's expressions of concern.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Montresor manipulate Fortunato and what traits make Fortunato easy prey in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

First and foremost, Montresor understands just how badly Fortunato loves wine, and he knows that Fortunato will not turn down a chance to sample a rare bottle of the Spanish sherry, Amontillado. Montresor manipulates Fortunato by promising that the bottle is deep within his family's catacombs (which double as a wine cellar), and he lures him to his predesigned burial place with the temptation of a drink. Montresor further manipulates Fortunato by bringing Luchesi into the equation. By suggesting that Fortunato is too ill and inebriated to make the long journey into the catacombs, and assuring him that Luchesi will be willing to test the Amontillado, Montresor knows that Fortunato will not be able to resist continuing. Montresor has also made certain that his servants will be absent from his home, knowing they will head to the carnival once he tells them that he will be gone for the evening. Montesor also sees to it that Fortunato, who is already drunk, will have a few more bottles to drink on the way to his death, further lowering his inhibitions.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What strategies does Montresor use to engage and lure Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor tricks Fortunato into coming into the crypt by using reverse psychology on him and trying to keep him at ease.

Montresor’s main strategy is to pretend that he does not want Fortunato to come see the wine.  First he implies that it would be better to let someone else look at it.  Then he continually inquires about Fortunato’s health, implying that he is too ill to remain.  He makes jokes to prevent Fortunato from knowing what is happening, and indeed the victim has no idea until he is already in the wall.

The first non-verbal cue Montresor gives Fortunato is shaking his hand.  He makes him think that he is happy to see him because they are friends. The reality is that he is happy to see him because he has a carefully orchestrated plan to kill him.  It would be a shame to let such a plan go to waste.  Fortunato is drunk, because of the Carnival.  His guard is down.

Montresor tells Fortunato that he has a special cask of wine that he needs an opinion on.  He knows that if he tells Fortunato that someone else will look at it, Fortunato will not be able to resist.  He also pretends to worry about Fortunato’s cold, so that the man will not realize how badly he wants him to go underground.

"My friend, no. It is not the engagement, but the severe cold with which I perceive you are afflicted. The vaults are insufferably damp. They are encrusted with nitre."

"Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Amontillado! You have been imposed upon. And as for Luchresi, he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado."

Montresor succeeds in getting Fortunato underground.  Once there, he uses a combination of verbal and nonverbal cues.  He jokes about being a member of the Masons, a secret society, and shows Fortunato the trowel.

"You? Impossible! A mason?"

"A mason," I replied.

"A sign," he said, "a sign."

"It is this," I answered, producing from beneath the folds of my roquelaire a trowel.

"You jest," he exclaimed, recoiling a few paces. "But let us proceed to the Amontillado."

The trowel gesture is designed to keep Fortunato at ease, making him think that everything is okay and it is all a joke.  It also explains away the presence of the trowel.  Montresor does not believe that Fortunato will question his having it now that he has shown it to him.  In fact, that is pretty much what happens.  Fortunato still thinks it is a joke until he is being bricked up in the wall. 

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What strategies does Montresor use to engage and lure Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

In "The Cask of Amontillado," Montresor uses verbal manipulations and nonverbal strategies to lure Fortunato to his unfortunate end. Montresor has studied his enemy well and knows his weak points. He has also picked an ideal night for his crime.

Understanding that Fortunato thinks of himself as an expert in wines, Montresor lies and tells Fortunato that he has a rare kind of sherry called amontillado in his wine cellar. He knows this will excite Fortunato's interest. It does, especially when Montresor says he is not sure it is the real thing. Fortunato becomes more and more interested in wanting to go down into the catacombs immediately and taste the amontillado for himself to make a determination. Then, Montresor heightens Fortunato's desires even more when says he will ask Luchesi, a rival, to do the sampling, as Fortunato is busy. Fortunato, who has the vanity to think he is the true expert, eagerly insists he is fully available.

Montresor uses more reverse psychology to trap Fortunato, saying it is too damp down in the catacombs for Fortunato to go there and that nitre, or mold, is growing on the walls. However, the more obstacles Montresor puts in his path, the more Fortunato is determined to head for the catacombs, which is exactly what Montresor wants, despite all his protestations of fake concern for the health of his "friend," such as saying "the vaults are insufferably damp."

By calling him "friend" and flattering him with concern, Montresor causes Fortunato's guard to lower. Fortunato has no reason to suspect that Montresor would do him harm.

Even as they are making their way through the catacombs, Montresor continues to use manipulative verbal reverse psychology and flattery, pretending he has Fortunato's best interest at heart. For example, after Fortunato has a coughing fit, Montresor says,

"Come," I said, with decision, "we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved."

Yet the more Montresor tries to deter him, the more Fortunato insists on going forward.

An important nonverbal strategy Montresor uses is to pick the night of Carnival, when Fortunato is drinking and partying, to approach him. Fortunato is in a happy space, deep into enjoying the festivities. A second nonverbal strategy Montresor uses is to keep Fortunato drinking as they travel through the catacombs. This way, Fortunato cannot think straight, making it easier for him to miss signs of danger.

A third nonverbal strategy Montresor uses is to wear a black silk face mask. This would be expected during a carnival, but it serves the purpose of hiding any facial expression that might tip Fortunato off to danger.

Montresor has planned his terrible crime well, using the verbal lure of a fine wine, flattery, playing on Fortunato's vanity, reverse psychology, and then, nonverbally, the setting of Carnival, alcohol, and his mask to disguise what he is doing from his enemy and wall him up in the catacombs to perish.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Where in "The Cask of Amontillado" does Montresor demonstrate his cleverness?

Montresor shows his cleverness in several places throughout "The Cask of Amontillado." When he first encounters Fortunato celebrating in the street, he wants to make sure that he is not expected anywhere that night. He would like to lure Fortunato to his palazzo and leave a cold trail. If Montresor's victim were expected at home, for example, then relatives, friends, and servants might go out looking for him that very night, and there would be many people who would remember seeing him and who would at least be able to tell in which direction he was going. But if Fortunato were not missed until the following morning, everybody would be sleeping or hung over and would not remember anything of use. So Montresor cleverly ascertains that Fortunato is not expected anywhere by pretending to believe he is expected. 

“As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me—”

“Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry.”

Montresor does not get the information he wants, but at least he plants the idea that he is on his way to Luchesi and suggests that he is in a big hurry to have his Amontillado judged by a connoisseur. So he tries again.

“My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Luchesi—”

“I have no engagement;—come.”

That was what Montresor wanted to find out. Fortunato will not be missed anywhere that night. Even tomorrow his family will assume that he is sleeping it off at a friend's home, or spending the night with a mistress. It will be some little time before people start wondering what on earth could have happened to Fortunato.

Montresor shows his cleverness by his use of "reverse psychology," a method of persuasion by telling a person to do the opposite of what you want them to do. Montresor must realize that Fortunato, as drunk as he is, will begin to wonder why the big "pipe" of wine is stored at such a distance from the foot of the cellar stairs. Here is an example of Montresor's reverse psychology.

“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. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi—”

“Enough,” he said; “the cough's a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.”

There is a natural human tendency to resist being told what to do. This is especially observable in drunks. By pretending to want Fortunato to turn back, Montresor suggests that there could be no danger ahead and that he could not have any ulterior motive for leading Fortunato onward.

There are many other examples of Montresor's cleverness. For instance, he has honed his entrapment story so that it will be nearly foolproof. He says he bought a cask of Amontillado without consulting an expert because he was afraid of losing a bargain. It is the bargain that interests Fortunato and not the prospect of sipping a glass of wine in a dank underground setting when he has a bad cold and is not adequately dressed for it. If Montresor got a pipe of 126 gallons of gourmet sherry at a bargain price, then Fortunato would like to buy some himself and sell it at a profit. Montresor knows his man. He understands that Fortunato is only going with him to his palazzo in order to prevent him from going to Luchesi. Fortunato assumes there must be a Spanish ship in the harbor carrying a cargo of Amontillado and offering it at a bargain price because it is hard to find buyers during the carnival when everybody is neglecting business. Montresor has been injured by his friendly enemy a thousand times, and he knows Fortunato is planning to tell him his nonexistent wine is only ordinary sherry, whether it is or not; then, if it is genuine, go to find the nonexistent Spanish ship and buy up the whole cargo.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Montresor lure Fortunato to his death in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Montresor uses several techniques to lure Fortunato to his death. First, he baits him with the promise of tasting a pipe of amontillado, which is the finest form of sherry available. Since Forunato is a wine connoisseur, this is an enticing offer.

Montresor also raises Fortunato's competitive spirit by offering to let his rival Luchesi taste the amontillado in his stead. Fortunato rejects this idea and insists on going.

During their journey through the catacombs, Montresor tells Fortunato they should turn back. He watches Fortunato having a coughing fit from the nitre on the walls and says:

“Come...we will go back; your health is precious..."

This ploy only stiffens Fortunato's determination to get to the amontillado.

In addition, Montresor offers Fortunato, who has already had plenty to drink, more wine as they travel through the catacombs, which Fortunato accepts. This impacts his reasoning capability so that he is not aware of what is happening until it is too late.

The many methods Montresor uses to snare his prey show he has thought his crime out carefully and knows his victim well.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Montresor lure Fortunato to his death in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Many first-time readers might not understand the subtlety in Montresor’s method of luring Fortunato into his catacombs. They believe Fortunato is motivated by a desire (1) to drink some delicious Amontillado, (2) to demonstrate his connoisseurship, (3) to do Montresor a favor, and (4) to prove he knows more about wine than Luchesi. None of these beliefs is entirely correct. The whole story does not have to be read to understand how Montresor has baited his trap. The following contains all the information necessary to appreciate the thought Poe devoted to fashioning the story Montresor tells Fortunato. The nonexistent cask of Amontillado is the bait. The first minutes are crucial.

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.”
“How?” said he. “Amontillado. A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle of the carnival!”
“I have my doubts,” I replied; “and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain.”
“Amontillado!”
“I have my doubts.”
“Amontillado!”
“And I must satisfy them.”
“Amontillado!”
“As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me—”

Montresor says, “You are luckily met” because he wants Fortunato to think he has been seeking him on an important matter. Then Montresor says, “But I have received…” The words “But” and “received” deserve particular attention. “But” implies that Montresor would like to join Fortunato, but he is on an urgent errand. He does not say he has purchased a pipe of Amontillado, only that he has “received” one. This suggests he has previously ordered the cask that has just been delivered. He has to say “received” so that Fortunato will believe the wine is at Montresor’s home and nowhere else. The obvious assumption is that a ship from Barcelona has arrived with an entire cargo of Amontillado. There is no other way Montresor’s cask could have been transported to Venice.

Fortunato does not ask questions about the transaction for several reasons, including that he is drunk. The “But” gives Fortunato no time to ask questions of a man in a hurry. And he does not want to show too much interest in details for fear of revealing that he would like to get in on this bargain. He must volunteer to sample the wine before Montresor goes to Luchesi. If he accompanies Montresor to his palazzo, Fortunato can keep Luchesi from finding out about this bargain. What interests Fortunato is the possibility of making a huge profit, and not sipping a glass of sweet wine in a cold, dark, damp catacomb in order to please a friend and to show off his supposed connoisseurship. Fortunato would not have to go with Montresor at all if it were not for Luchesi, who would also be very interested in the bargain if he learned about it. Fortunato otherwise could tell Montresor he could not accompany him that night—after all, he is inadequately dressed, he has a bad cold, and he could invent a previous engagement—and then go directly to the harbor and find the Spanish ship. He doesn’t need to taste Montresor’s wine; he can sample it from several big casks on board.

Why does Montresor repeat, “I have my doubts”? The manifest meaning is that he needs an expert to advise him. But why so urgently? Because he got a bargain and wants to buy more before word gets out. That is why he is running around looking for Fortunato and then giving up on finding him and heading for Luchesi’s. He wants to buy more wine that night, but he has to be sure it is genuine. Otherwise it is no bargain. But Poe concocted another reason for “I have my doubts.” If Fortunato cannot accompany him that night, he is sure to inquire about it later. This is one reason Montresor says he “received” the pipe. He can say he bought it from a person who wishes to remain anonymous. He never claimed there was more available or that he wanted to buy more. And if Fortunato asks to taste that totally fictitious Amontillado, Montresor can present him with a bottle of ordinary sherry and say it was drawn from the big cask. Fortunato will taste it, shake his head, and hopefully forget the matter. Montresor will have to think of some other way of disposing of his enemy. He will never be able to lure him into his catacombs with a similar cock-and-bull story.

Finally Montresor says, “As you are engaged...” He wants to find out whether Fortunato is expected at home or anywhere else that night. He must leave a cold trail. He doesn’t want Fortunato missed before tomorrow morning at the earliest. Montresor fails to respond to the first gambit. But when Fortunato takes him by the arm and proceeds to drag him off to his wine cellar, Montresor says:

“My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Luchesi—"
“I have no engagement,—come.”

Once Fortunato says, “I have no engagement,” his doom is sealed. Fortunato will be recognized by many drunken celebrants, especially with his conspicuous jester’s costume and jingling bells; but his companion, wearing a black cloak and a black mask, will be as nameless as a shadow.

The subtlety of Montresor’s entrapment scheme could be lost on first-time readers, who might make the assumption that Fortunato is motivated by a desire (1) to drink some delicious Amontillado, (2) to demonstrate his connoisseurship, (3) to do his friend a favor, and (4) to prove he knows more about wine than Luchesi. But a careful reader will see much more in the story, which can be read over and over with new insights.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Fortunato try to stop Montresor in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Fortunato is too drunk to stop Montresor and doesn't realize he is about to be murdered.

Fortunato never really tries to stop Montesor, because he doesn’t realize what is happening.  This is because he is very drunk.  The murder happens during the Carnival holiday.  Fortunato is dressed up and drinking.  Montresor tells him he needs information about a rare wine. 

Fortunato falls for it, because he has a big ego.  When Montresor pretends that he is going to ask someone else about the wine, that gets Fotunato even more interested.  It never occurs to him that it is a trick.

"As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchresi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me --"

"Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry."

This little bit of reverse psychology continues when Montresor pretends to care about Fortunato’s health.  He says he is coughing and they should turn back.  Fortunato doesn’t want to.  He laughs at Montresor’s trowel, again not realizing anything is up.  Montresor makes a jokes about Masons.

Fortunato doesn’t realize what is happening until he is actually being bricked into the wall.  The drunkenness wears off and he starts to panic.  Montresor is aware of this.

A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a brief moment I hesitated, I trembled. Unsheathing my rapier, I began to grope with it about the recess; but the thought of an instant reassured me. 

It is no use by this time.  Fortunato never has a chance to stop Montresor. Montresor makes sure that Fortunato suffocates to death.  He remains there and in fifty years no one finds him.   Montresor has gotten his revenge for whatever imagined injuries Fortunato did to him.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What techniques does Montresor use to deceive Fortunato?

Edgar Allan Poe must have spent a long time thinking about how any man could lure an enemy underground and murder him without being seen in his company and without being suspected of any complicity after the victim disappeared. It is easy enough to think of telling Fortunato that he has a cask of gourmet wine he wants him to sample. But he has to get Fortunato to come with him immediately. Otherwise Fortunato could find out that there was no Spanish ship in the harbor which had just brought in a cargo of Amontillado. Montresor does not exactly tell Fortunato that this is how he "received" the wine, but Fortunato would assume that was the case because it was the only likely way that a big cask of Amontillado sherry come from Barcelona to Venice. Montresor has to tell Fortunato that he got a bargain and that he is going to Luchesi, since he had been unable to find Fortunato.

It is the  bargain that gives Fortunato such a strong motivation to sample the wine immediately.Unlike Montresor, Fortunato is a rich man and could buy up the whole shipload. Otherwise, he probably would have put Montresor off. He was having fun at the carnival. He was not adequately dressed for going into cold, damp catacombs. He was drunk. He had a cold. It is the bargain and his fear that Luchesi will beat him out of it that motivates him to go home with Montresor immediately.

Montresor knows that Fortunato is thinking of buying up the whole cargo. He wouldn't have to sample Montresor's cask if the Spanish ship really existed. He could beg off for that night and then easily find the ship in the harbor and sample the wine on board. Then he could bargain with the captain for the entire cargo, assuming it was genuine. But he has to sample Montresor's (nonexistent) Amontillado in order to keep him from going to Luchesi, who never appears in the story but is apparently a wealthy man who buys and sells expensive items for resale, just like Montresor and Fortunato.

So Montresor invents a clever story to deceive Fortunato into coming with him immediately. The whole entrapment story is compressed into these few brief paragraphs of dialogue.

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.”

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

“As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me—”

Montresor acts as if he is in a big hurry to get a connoisseur to judge his wine. This can only suggest that he wants to buy more while it is still being offered at a bargain price. But he doesn't dare to buy any more until he is sure it is genuine Amontillado.

Montresor knows that Fortunato is planning to tell him his (nonexistent) wine is only ordinary sherry, thereby eliminating Montresor as a competitive buyer as well as Luchesi. This explains why Fortunato doesn't ask a lot of awkward questions about the wine. He doesn't want to show too keen an interest.

When Montresor gets Fortunato down into his catacombs he deceives him further by suggesting more than once that they turn back because of the risk to his victim's health. For example:

“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. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi—”

This deceit is of secondary importance. Montresor uses reverse psychology to keep Fortunato moving towards the niche where he intends to chain him to the granite wall. But Montresor has a rapier and Fortunato, in his tight-fitting jester's costume, is obviously unarmed. Montresor could kill him any time he wants. The victim is as good as dead already. The really important deception is contained in the totally false, finely honed story Montresor has concocted to lure Fortunato to his palazzo and down the steep steps into his doom.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado", how does Montresor manipulate others in three ways?

Montressor manipulates Fortunato throughout "The Cask of Amontillado," and he proves to be a master at this game. Even before Montressor meets up with Fortunato, he has already determined a sure way to rid himself of his servants--and possible witnesses--on the night of the murder. He notifies them that he will be gone for the evening--a deliberate lie--and he knows that they will not fail to capitalize on his supposed absence during the carnival. Montressor knew that each and every one of them would leave their work early and join the revelry--leaving the house and property deserted except for Montressor and Fortunato.

Posted on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado", how does Montresor manipulate others in three ways?

Montresor spends his energy primarily manipulating Fortunato.

First, when Montresor meets Fortunato, knowing that the other man loves fine wines, he hooks the other man's interest by saying that he has bought a rare cask (container) of amontillado. He appeals to Fortunato superior skills as a connoisseur to accompany him so that Fortunato can tell Montresor whether he has been tricked in the transaction.

The second way Montresor manipulates Fortunato is by pretending that he is willing to ask Luchesi (another connoisseur of fine wines) to check the amontillado if Fortunato is too busy. Fortunato's ego will not allow him to consider letting Montresor share the wine with anyone else, and so he insists upon going with Montresor.

A third way Montresor manipulates Fortunato is by repeatedly asking after his health as they move deeper into the catacombs beneath Montresor's palazzo. Montresor acts concerned and asks many times if Fortunato will not return above ground for the sake of his health, but he also gives Fortunato more to drink. Under these circumstances, and the repeated references to the amontillado, Fortunato refuses to leave.

In these ways, Montresor convinces Fortunato to willingly proceed to his own death.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Cask of Amontillado", how does Montresor manipulate others in three ways?

For the most part,"The Cask of Amontillado" involves only two characters: Montresor, who vows to be avenged for "the thousand injuries of Fortunato" and his victim, Fortunato, who fancies himself a connossieur of wines.  In his elaborate plan to lure Fortunato into his family catacombs in order to murder him, Montresor devises methods of luring, or manipulating, Fortunato:

  1. Montresor tells Fortunato that he has recently acquired a "pipe" of the Amontillado wine, but he has his "doubts."  When Fortunato hesitates to judge it for Montresor, Montresor says that he is on his way to Luchesi:  "If anyone has a critical turn, it is he.  He will tell me---" Hearing the name of Luchesi, Fortunato becomes jealous:  "Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from sherry."  Montresor continues to play upon this professional jealousy by telling Fortunato that he sees that Fortunato has "an engagement," but Luchesi maybe can come.  Enraged, Fortunato declares, "I have no engagement--come."  They proceed.
  2. As they approach the catacombs of the Montresors, Fortunato staggers some while Montresor points out the niter and remarks that Fortunato has a bad cough and they should not proceed:  "You are a man to be missed....Besides, there is Luchesi--"  Again, this touches the nerve of professional jealousy in Fortunato:  "Enough,...the cough is a mere nothing," Fortunato protests. And they proceed.
  3. After giving the already drunk Fortunato more wine, Montresor lures him farther and farther into the catacombs.  In vain Fortunato tries to see into the depths, but Montresor manipulates him yet again by saying "Proceed,...herein is the Amontillado.  As for Luchesi--" 

"He is an ignoramus," interrupts the drunk and still jealous Fortunato who desires to be the first to judge the Amontillado.    

As Fortunato exclaims, "The Amontillado!" Montresor begins to wall up the opening to the niche and wreak his vengeance that he has so long planned.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does the narrator lure Fortunato to his death?

One word--pride.  Fortunato has apparently slighted Montressor (the narrator) to the point where he feels must take the ultimate revenge.  He says there have been a "thousand injuries" which he has overlooked; but Fortunato insulted him, an act which could not go unpunished. The plan is simple, devious, and cruel.  Montressor will lure the offender to the catacombs at his palazzo (the underground burial place for his dead ancestors)  and then bury him alive.

But, this plan only works if he is able to lure Fortunato to his vaults. Montressor is apparently a student of human nature, and he uses his knowledge to carry out his plan.  The story takes place during Carnival, festivities similar to Mardi Gras.  He tells his servants he will be gone until the morning but they are NOT to leave--knowing full well they will go join the festivities once they know he is gone.  Thus, an empty palazzo.

Next, Montressor finds the slightly drunk Fortunato and tells him he has bought a large quantity (a full pipe) of Amontillado.  This is unlikely, since it's the middle of Carnival, and both men express their doubts as to the authenticity of the wine.  Montressor has studied his victim and begins to set the trap, appealing to Fortunato's pride in being the only true connoisseur of wine.

Montressor invites him to come and be the judge, which he rather reluctantly agrees to do--as he has a bit of a cold and he'd rather be part of the festivites.  Each time Fortunato appears to hesitate or falter, Montressor invokes the name of a rival, Luchesi, to lure him back.  When Fortunato insists on tasting the amontillado, Montressor says, "My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature.  I perceive you have an engagement.  Luchesi--"  The implication, of course, is that Luchesi would be able to do the job just as well. Each time the name is invoked, Fortunato is even more adamant that he be taken to the wine cellar to see for himself.  "As for Luchesi," says Fortunato, "he cannot distinguish between Sherry and Amontillado."

Thus it continues...all the way down to the catacombs of the palazzo.  Montressor says Fortunato should turn back because it's damp and he doesn't want his friend to catch pneumonia, and Fortunato says he is stronger than that.  Pride again.  Montressor offers to save him the trouble and get Luchesi, and Fortunato is even more adamant about going.  Even at the end, Montressor acts like a caring friend, unwilling to have Fortunato harmed or injured in any way, while Fortunato nearly forces his way into his own grave.

The plan was just too easy.  It hinged on the knowledge the narrator had of Fortunato's pride and the consistency with which he used that pride against his enemy.  Montressor's definition of revenge is that he must not be punished for his act of avenging and the "avenger must make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong."  The great irony, of course, is that Fortunato did not, even at the end, understand why Montressor would do such a thing to him--calling into question both the insult by Fortunato and the excessive pride of his murderer.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does the narrator lure Fortunato to his death?

The narrator in this story is a man named Montressor who hates Fortunato.  He lures Fortunato to his death by playing on Fortunato's vanity.

What he tells Fortunato is that he (Montressor) has this new pipe of wine.  He thinks that it is an amontillado.  But he tells Fortunato that he is not sure.  Fortunato is very proud of his knowledge of wines and so he wants to come and see whether the wine really is amontillado.

Along the way, Montressor plays on Fortunato's pride and competitiveness by saying he can get another man to come and assess the wine just as well.  He says Fortunato is too sick and should go home.  This makes Fortunato want to go even more.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on