Edgar Allen Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado is a story of fear and revenge. The dark side of human nature is exemplified through the character of Montressor and his victim, Fortunato. The story begins with Montressor’s vow of revenge. This is proven in the first sentence when Montressor says, “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. ” Montressor is a manipulative and vengeful person. These characteristics lead to the death of Fortunato.
Through the ords, acts, and thoughts of Montressor, one is able to see him carry out his plan for revenge. Montressor had to be sure not to raise suspicion of what he was going to do to Fortunato. The story takes place at a carnival in Italy where Montressor and Fortunato appear to come upon each other by chance. The setting moves to the catacombs of Montressor’s home. It is a place of doom where skeletons lie against damp walls covered in nitre. Montressor dons a “mask of black silk” and a heavy knee length cloak.
Montressor’s clothes seem to indicate his wanting to conceal himself so he can carry out is devious plan. Fortunato is very drunk and dressed like a jester. Fortunato’s clothing seems to indicate his trusting but foolish nature. However, Montressor’s true character is alos indicated by his words. From the start of the story his vengeful nature sets the tone for the acts that will follow. Montressor had to make sure that “there were no attendants at home. ” Montressor tells the reader, “They had absconded to make merry in honor of the time.
I had told them that I should not return until the morning, and had given explicit orders not to stir from the ouse. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned. ” Montressor knew that by telling his servants that he would be gone until the morning that they would go to the carnival whether he had told them to stay home or not. One of the first things that Montressor narrates to the reader is that he “…. must not only punish but punish with impunity. Montressor is manipulative, as he tells Fortunato that he will have someone else taste the Amontillado, knowing that by doing this Fortunato ill feel compelled to taste the wine himself. “As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchresi.
If anyone has a critical turn I is he. He will tell me… ” In addition to being manipulative and vengeful, Montressor also displays condescending traits. Montressor addresses Fortunato in the catacombs by saying, “… your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy as once I was. You are a man to be missed. Montressor’s actions also demonstrate his vengeful and manipulative nature. He lures Fortunato into the catacombs of his home to carry out his plans.
First he caters to Fortunato’s ego by saying that someone else was as good a judge of wine as he. Then Montressor tricks Fortunato into believing that there lies an expensive bottle of wine in the depths of his catacombs. When they finally reach their destination, Montressor shackles him to the wall, constructs a tomb around him using bricks, and leaves him to there to die. It is indicated that in the past that Fortunato has hurt Montressor many times.
However, the insults or unkind acts were not actually mentioned in the story. It was exactly the pposite; Fortunato was friendly and helpful toward Montressor. From the very beginning of the story, one can obviously see that Montressor thinks that he has been wronged by Fortunato. His plan for vengeance is easily seen through his actions and his thoughts. “He had a weak point-this Fortunato-although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. ” This line shows that Montressor’s plan was well thought out. There is no indication of what Fortunato thinks about Montressor.
It can only be assumed that he trusts him because he follows him into the catacombs, and p until the last moments before the last brick is put into place, he still holds onto the idea that Montressor is playing a joke on him. This is explained when Fortunato says, “Ha! Ha! Ha! He! He! He! – a very joke, indeed an excellent jest. ” Montressor is successful in his plan for vengeance. He succeeds in having Fortunato follow him into the catacombs and quickly had him up against the wall. Throwing the chain around him was easily accomplished in seconds.
Then tier by tier, Montressor constructed Fortunato’s tomb of bricks around him. When Montressor called out to him, he heard nothing and thus his plan was complete. The final lines, “In pace requiescat! ” definitely indicate again the success of Montressor’s plan. Throughout the entire story one could see how Montressor completely manipulated Fortunato and lead him to his demise. His vengeful nature made him unable to rethink the evil deed he had just committed. His only concern was to avenge the insults that he perceived. He succeeded in taking someone’s life without ever revealing his dark side to anyone.