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 does the first-person narrative add to The Cask of Amontillado?

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Poe's use of the first-person narration is to allow the reader to question the reliability of the narrator. Through Montressor's eyes, we are told that Fortunado insulted him over a thousand times; however, as the reader, we are only able to find one insult. It is Montressor who plots to kill his friend by taking advantage of his mental state and continuously filling him with drink. By the story's end, the narrator whom we initially believed in has turned out to be a maniac; thus proving his mental instability and the inability of the reader to truly trust his account.

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