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

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Montresor makes sure that Fortunato is drunk because this will dull Fortunato's reflexes and ability to think clearly. Fortunato's drunkenness prevents him from questioning the strangeness of the circumstances as well as from reacting swiftly enough to prevent himself from being chained to the wall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why does Montresor make sure Fortunato is drunk?

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

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

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

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In the "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe, when Montresor offers Fortunato a drink of the Medoc wine, what is his reason for wanting Fortunato to drink it?

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

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In the "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe, when Montresor offers Fortunato a drink of the Medoc wine, what is his reason for wanting Fortunato to drink it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"And I to your long life."

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

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

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

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," why does Montresor, the narrator, seek revenge against Fortunato?

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

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

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In "The Cask of Amontillado," how does Fortunato knowing so much about wine benefit Montresor's plan to kill him? 

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

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