Battle Between Montresor and Fortunado in The Cask of Amontillado

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Montresor, the main character of Edgar Allen Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado”, took it upon himself to get justice for all the times his old friend Fortunato insulted him; Montresor not only wanted to simply punish Fortunato, but to punish with impunity. Montresor carries out his deceptive plan by luring Fortunato into the catacombs by playing on Fortunato’s vanities, there Montresor traps an intoxicated Fortunato and barricades the exit so there is no choice but die a slow death in the damp underground cave. In Edgar Allen Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado”, the use of symbols, foreshadowing, and irony teaches the reader that even the ones thought of as friends can betray you in the end.

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Seemingly every detail in the “Cask of Amontillado” is symbolic in some way. One symbol that carried great weight in the short story was Montresor’s family coat of arms; a giant gold human foot, in a blue field, crushing a wild and crazy serpent and in response, the serpent takes a bite out of the human foot. “The snake in the grass symbolizes Montresor, the human foot symbolizes Fortunato; with his insulting comments, Fortunato stepped on Montresor’s pride and self-respect, so Montresor bit Montresor in self-defense” (eduzaurus_essay3). Along with the coat of Arms there is a motto, “Nemo me impune lacessit”, meaning “no attacks me with impunity”.

Before the short story even begins, Montresor foreshadows the fate of Fortunato with the title “Cask of Amontillado”; Cask is short for the word casket which is typically the final resting place for a man, therefore representing that death will be an outcome for someone in the story. A literal translation for the title is the death of someone due to their intense attraction to Amontillado. Poe also places a lot of foreshadowing on the Carnival being the perfect time to execute his plan against Montresor because of the supreme madness of the carnival scene.

Montresor’s polite facade made it easy to make ironic comments that wouldn’t register in Fortunato’s mind until it was too late. Montresor continues to make comments wishing good health and well-being to Fortunato while clearly knowing that Fortunato was going to be dead in a matter of hours. “Montresor intentionally makes these phony statements to create an outward appearance of friendship between himself and Fortunato; these actions made it easier to lure Fortunato into the catacomb because he trusted Montresor and didn’t believe he was in any real danger.” (Table 52). Throughout their journey through the catacombs Montresor continuously showers Fortunato with pleasure and friendly advice to deceive into a false sense of friendship, this way Fortunato would never expect Montresor to turn on him. Unfortunately, for Fortunato, Montresor means nothing by his friendly gestured and only developed a false friendship to carry out his plan with ease.

Ultimately Fortunato never had a chance against Montresor, not while Montresor’s was working perfectly. Montresor was able to act a part long enough to accomplish his dark deed and get away with it scotch free. Fortunato was deceived into believing Montresor was his friend; this trust in Montresor led Fortunato to his death and he never caught a clue until the very end. In the short story “Cask of Amontillado”, Edgar Allen Poe was able to teach the reader a valuable lesson about how deadly misplaced trust can be.

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