illustration of Fortunato standing in motley behind a mostly completed brick wall with a skull superimposed on the wall where his face should be

The Cask of Amontillado

by Edgar Allan Poe

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What are five character traits of Montresor from "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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The character Montresor from "The Cask of Amontillado" is characterized by his vengeful nature, determination, duplicity, intelligence, and manipulative behavior. He meticulously plans his revenge against Fortunato, demonstrating his detail-oriented and devious traits. Montresor's pride is evident in his response to Fortunato's insults, and his perceptiveness and observance allow him to exploit Fortunato's weaknesses effectively.

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Montresor's vengeful personality is his most prominent character trait. Montresor's primary motivation for murdering Fortunato stems from his desire to avenge his enemy for causing him a "thousand injuries." Montresor also has a specific definition for enacting the perfect revenge and proceeds to craft a foolproof plan to punish his...

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enemy. According to Montresor, vengeance runs in his family and is depicted in their motto "Nemo me impune lacessit," which means "no one provokes me with impunity."

Montresor is also a determined individual who will stop at nothing to get retribution. He is aware of the consequences of his actions but takes careful precautions to ensure that he will successfully get away with murder. Despite Fortunato's popularity and revered status, Montresor demonstrates his determination by crafting an ingenuous plan to get revenge.

Montresor is also a duplicitous individual who pretends to be friendly in Fortunato's presence to gain his trust, which makes it significantly easier to enact his murderous plan. In the story, Montresor brags about concealing his true feelings by smiling in Fortunato's face and behaving amicably when he meets him during the carnival. He is also an intelligent man with an inherent understanding of how humans behave. Montresor's elaborate, effective plan illustrates his intelligence. He is very observant, takes numerous precautious, and demonstrates a unique understanding of what motivates Fortunato.

Montresor is also a manipulative person and is able to use Fortunato's pride and affinity for rare wines against him. He plays on Fortunato's pride by mentioning that he is thinking of consulting Luchesi about the Amontillado, which he knows will annoy and upset his enemy. Montresor also continues to impair Fortunato by offering him several droughts of wine while they are in his family's catacombs. Montresor’s manipulative skills fool Fortunato into believing that he is a harmless friend.

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Montresor is incredibly proud. To begin the story, he tells his audience that,

The thousand injuries of Fortunato [he] had borne as best [he] could, but when [Fortunato] venture upon insult [Montresor] vowed revenge.

Montresor feels that he has been very patient with Fortunato, taking his verbal barbs in stride, but when Fortunato crossed the line into real insult, Montresor could abide no longer. Montresor feels he must make him pay.

I would also describe Montresor as detail-oriented and devious. Montresor has thought of everything. He has a long black cloak and black mask to hide his person so that no one will see him and Fortunato together. He made sure no servants would be at home by declaring that he would be gone all night and ordering them to stay inside the house.  He carries a trowel and has all his materials ready. All the details are in order. Further, he knows just how to get his way with Fortunato. He will exploit his enemy's one weakness: his pride in "his connoisseurship in wine." He manipulates Fortunato deftly, understanding just what to say to make it seem like going to the vaults was Fortunato's idea.

Montresor is also quite perceptive and observant. He immediately identifies how intoxicated Fortunato is, and he observes the man's cough and his eyes, "two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication." He also understands his own servants so precisely that he can predict their movements.

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Montresor is insane, vengeful, cunning, deceitful, and murderous.

Montresor is not in his right mind.  He is some kind of psychopath, imagining things that are not real.  He imagines that Fortunato has insulted him.  He actually describes a “thousand injuries.”  These are not the words of a sane man.

Montresor is also vengeful.  This is not a good combination.  He wants to make sure that he punishes Fortunato for his imagined wrongs, and he has to get away with it.

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. I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser.

To this end, Montresor devises a plan.  He is very cunning, even if he is crazy.  He tells Fortunato that he has a special cask of wine that he needs his opinion on.  He plans to get him underground and then make his move.

Montresor tricks Fortunato into going into the crypt.  He makes sure that Fortunato won’t say no by offering to show another man the wine instead.  He pretends to care about Fortunato’s health.  This reverse-psychology manipulation works very well.  Fortunato takes the bait.

Finally, Montresor kills Fortunato by bricking him into the wall.  Fortunato cannot believe it at first.  He thinks it is a joke.

No answer. I called again --


No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells. 

Since Montresor is telling the story fifty years later, we know that he got away with it.  Apparently no one suspected Montresor in Fortunato’s disappearance, and it does not seem as if anyone found the body.  Montresor murdered with impunity.

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What are the villanous characteristics of Montresor in "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe?

In "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe, Montresor wants revenge.  The reader is unclear as to what the final insult was that unknowing Fortunato committed, but it pushed Montresor to become a maniacal killer

Montresor's family motto states that his family will attain revenge but with impunity.  This simply means that Montresor will have to plan the perfect crime, thus, no one will know that he has murdered Fortunato. Monstresor will get his vengeance. 

Prior to meeting Fortunato, Montresor has made detailed plans to carry out his crime.  It will take place during the carnival when everyone is busy and the places are crowded.  No one will be paying attention to anything in particular. In addition, he will use reverse psychology by telling his servants to stay at home; therefore, he knows that they will slip away, and he will have his home to himself. 

Although it is not shown or told in the story, with his determination to carry out his plot, Montresor has gone down into the catacombs and placed everything needed to chain up his victim and wall him up in his eternal grave.

Montresor further establishes his cleverness when he tricks Fortunato into accompanying him down into the catacombs to taste the wine.  Montresor must have spent time studying his victim because he knows that Fortunato will come and also that he will have drunk wine and will want to drink more 

Montresor's acting skills are honed as well. He feigns concern for Fortunato when he has a coughing spell. He tells him that he knows that he will not die of a cough, knowing exactly how he will die. Despite the continued insults of Fortunato about his family, Montresor is able to keep his cool demeanor in tact and continue on with their journey. 

Proving himself heartless, Montresor listens to the begging of Fortunato to be let go.  

'Will not they be awaiting us at the palazzo, the Lady Fortunato and the rest? Let us be gone.'

'Yes, I said,' Let us be gone.'

'For the love of God, Montresor!'

'Yes, I said, for the love of God!'

There came forth only the jingling of the bells. 

There is a brief hesitation, but not enough to keep him from pushing in the final brick and sending Fortunato to his death. There has to be evil lurking in Montresor's heart to damn someone to this kind of death for just an insult. 

The plan worked for Montresor since the reader knows that after fifty years Fortunato's body has been undisturbed. 

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