The Cask of Amontillado, a short story by Edgar Poe, revolves around secret murder, revenge, and deception. In an Italian-based setting, Poe shows how Montressor tricks his friend Fortunato into trapping him in a prehistoric catacomb. In the story, Poe uses the two main characters, Fortunato and Montresor, to explain the reason that makes Montresor to kills Fortunato and gives an explanation for the execution of the murder. With the message in the story being punishment and judgment, this first-person narration leads the reader to understand the deception Montressor employs to woe Fortunato to come to his home and kill him. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and in the story, Montressor takes the last blow to provoke his vow to revenge against Fortunato as he plots and implements Fortunato’s death.
Fortunato tends to wrong Montressor, and as the latter explains, the latest insult encountered is the last of the thousand blows taken from Fortunato. With no insight, Fortunato gives in to the deceit of Montressor as he, Montressor, plots to get revenge for the insults he has had to take from his mate (Poe, 68). Further, with the understanding that Fortunato knows wine, Montressor ensures to use this information. He tricks Fortunato into coming to his home, where every one of Montressor’s servants has left for the night, and only he remains (Choryń, 33). The move proves fruitful as Fortunato, with the desire to see the newly acquired Amontillado, quickly follows Montressor to his death. Towards taking Fortunato to the freshly caught Amontillado, Montressor takes his friend through a winding staircase and into the catacombs.
The catacombs beneath Montressor’s home represent the place of death, and Fortunato, unaware of the trick being played on him, sheepishly follows Montressor to become one with the dead. Urged to go into the smaller crypt, with a height of seven feet, a width of three feet, and a depth of four feet, Fortunato goes into the smaller place (Poe, 71). In his confusion, the drunken friend is unaware that he is freely giving away his ability to get out of the crypt by willingly accepting to be chained, as later shown when he sobers up over what Montressor does. The desire for wine continuously blinds Fortunato to the point where even as Montressor brings mortar and stone, Fortunato keeps asking for the Amontillado (Poe, 71).
Arguably, the blind faith Fortunato has in his friend and the desire to see the Amontillado, together with the fact that he is drunk, become the reason he unconsciously buys into the trick by Montressor, and he is closed in the crypt for his death.
As Montressor builds and closes the crypt with mortar and stone, Fortunato quickly sobers up to realize he is being buried alive. Unfortunately, being chained within the vault does not allow him to free himself from the cruelty being done to him by Montressor. In his revenge, Montressor inhumanely lifts the last stone from the ground and seals his friend Fortunato in the crypt (Poe and Aaron, 75). Despite his heart growing weak, he forces the last stone into place and gathers the pile of bones against the wall, leaving the crypt-like nothing has happened.
The message of revenge, deceit, and murder becomes clear as Montressor puts the last stone to seal the crypt. To him, vindication has come to be as he inhumanly seals the vault, gathers the bones, and piles them against the wall. Regardless of the sobering up and crying by Fortunato, Montressor goes on to prove that the last insult was the last among the many he had to take from Fortunato.
Choryń, Iwona. “The Analysis of Emotive Language on the Example of Translations of “the Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe in the Light of the Literary Translation Theories.” Dyskursy Specjalistyczne: Rejestry, Gatunki, Tłumaczenia = Specialized Discourses: Registers, Genres, Translation . (2016): 29-46.
Poe, Edgar A. The Cask of Amontillado. Vachendorf Strelbytskyy Multimedia Publishing. 2020.
Poe, Edgar A, and Aaron Parker. The Cask of Amontillado. Findaway World: Orange Island Book Shop. 2020.