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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Key Plot Points

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Montresor Seeks Revenge: Montresor details his anger toward Fortunato, a man who has insulted him. Though Montresor feigns friendship with Fortunato, he plots revenge.

Montresor Lures Fortunato into the Catacombs:Montresor meets Fortunato, who is dressed as a jester, in the street during Carnival. Montresor tells him that he has bought a cask of Amontillado, a rare and expensive wine, without tasting it first. The inebriated Fortunato insists on accompanying Montresor to taste it. Montresor puts on a black silk mask and leads Fortunato down into the Montresor catacombs.

They Descend:As they descend, Fortunato starts coughing. Montresor offers to go back, but Fortunato insists on continuing. They open a bottle of wine to drink; Fortunato toasts to the buried dead and Montresor toasts to Fortunato’s long life.

They Enter the Crypt: The two men reach a crypt piled high with bones. Montresor tells Fortunato that the Amontillado is in a granite niche off to one side.

Montresor Imprisons and Abandons Fortunato:Montresor chains Fortunato to the back of the niche and begins to construct a wall, enclosing Fortunato into the niche. At first, Fortunato panics, moaning and screaming. As the wall grows higher, he tries to frame Montresor’s actions as a joke. He finally cries out, and then is silent as Montresor finishes the wall. Montresor concludes the tale by saying that no one has disturbed the contents of the crypt for fifty years.

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