|The Cask of Amontillado
|BookSurge Classics cover
|Edgar Allen Poe
|Short Story, Paperback
"The Cask of Amontillado" (sometimes spelled "The Casque of Amontillado") is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe and first published in the November 1846 issue of "Godey's Lady's Book".
The story is set in a nameless European city in an unspecified year (possibly sometime during the eighteenth century) and concerns the deadly revenge taken by the narrator on a friend who he claims has insulted him. Like several of Poe's stories, and in keeping with the 19th-century fascination with the subject, the narrative revolves around a person being buried alive – in this case, by immurement.
As in "The Black Cat" and "The Tell-Tale Heart", Poe conveys the story through the murderer's perspective.
The unreliable narrator of the story. He vows revenge against Fortunato (and gets it), but we never find out for sure if Fortunato did anything to deserve what Montresor does to him.
Montresor's victim. It's unclear how badly he really treated Montresor. His name means "fortunate", which is ironic considering his fate.
The narrator, Montresor, opens the story by talking about how he has an enemy named Fortunato, whose seemingly constant insults he has tried to put up with, but now he has reached his breaking point and wants revenge.
He has kept his desire for revenge a secret, but he is absolutely determined to get it. Montresor continues his relationship with Fortunato as if nothing has happened – he says that he “continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my sile now was at the thought of his immolation.”
One thing that Fortunato cannot resist is fine wine. He is a true wine connoisseur. Montresor has similar skills, and this is what he uses to plan his revenge.
Montresor encounters Fortunato one night. Fortunato is wearing the costume of a jester and has been drinking. Montresor entices Fortunato to his home under the guise of wanting Fotrunato’s opinion on whether the wine he has recently purchased is in fact Amontillado or not.
The two go to Montresor’s home, into the vaults where the wine is kept. Montresor dons a black mask and cloak. The house is empty, as Montresor has ordered his servants away for the night. Carrying flaming torches, the two men descend into the vaults.
Fortunato is pressed to drink more wine by Montresor, who makes ironic comments about drinking to the poor man’s health and long life. They continue walking through the gloomy, Gothic vaults.
Eventually, they reach a recess in the wall which Montresor convinces Fortunato to go into. It is there that he is fettered to the wall with chains, and then, slowly, the wall is bricked up before him and Fortunato is trapped inside.
Fortunato’s drunkenness wears off and he starts to try to escape, screaming awfully. Montresor screams back at him, even louder, until Fortunato stops. Later, as Montresor is about to place the final brick to seal Fortunato in forever, there is horrible laughter from Fortunato – however, this is no joke.
Fortunato is sealed away forever, never to be disturbed. Montresor says he feels sick as he leaves, but that it is probably because of the dampness of the vaults.