The Cask of Amontillado (2022)

The Cask of Amontillado (1)

The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat.At lengthI would be avenged; this was a point definitively settled — but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.

It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smilenowwas at the thought of his immolation.

He had a weak point — this Fortunato — although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine. Few Italians have the true virtuoso spirit. For the most part their enthusiasm is adopted to suit the time and opportunity, to practice imposture upon the British and Austrianmillionaires. In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack, but in the matter of old wines he was sincere. In this respect I did not differ from him materially; — I was skilful in the Italian vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I could.

It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted me with excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much. The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells. I was so pleased to see him that I thought I should never have done wringing his hand.

I said to him — “My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day! But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts.”

“How?” said he. “Amontillado? A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle of the carnival!”

“I have my doubts,” I replied; “and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain.”


“I have my doubts.”


“And I must satisfy them.”


“As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me ——”

“Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry.”

“And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own.”

“Come, let us go.”


(Video) The Cask of Amontillado

“To your vaults.”

“My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Luchesi ——”

“I have no engagement; — come.”

“My friend, no. It is not the engagement, but the severe cold with which I perceive you are afflicted. The vaults are insufferably damp. They are encrusted with nitre.”

“Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Amontillado! You have been imposed upon. And as for Luchesi, he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado.”

Thus speaking, Fortunato possessed himself of my arm. Putting on a mask of black silk and drawing aroquelaireclosely about my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo.

There were no attendants at home; they had absconded to make merry in honour of the time. I had told them that I should not return until the morning, and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned.

I took from their sconces two flambeaux, and giving one to Fortunato, bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into the vaults. I passed down a long and winding staircase, requesting him to be cautious as he followed. We came at length to the foot of the descent, and stood together on the damp ground of the catacombs of the Montresors.

The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode.

“The pipe,” said he.

“It is farther on,” said I; “but observe the white web-work which gleams from these cavern walls.”

He turned towards me, and looked into my eyes with two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication .

“Nitre?” he asked, at length.

“Nitre,” I replied. “How long have you had that cough?”

“Ugh! ugh! ugh! — ugh! ugh! ugh! — ugh! ugh! ugh! — ugh! ugh! ugh! — ugh! ugh! ugh!”

My poor friend found it impossible to reply for many minutes.

“It is nothing,” he said, at last.

“Come,” I said, with decision, “we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi ——”

(Video) "The Cask of Amontillado" Edgar Allan Poe Full Audio Book

“Enough,” he said; “the cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.”

“True — true,” I replied; “and, indeed, I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily — but you should use all proper caution. A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps.”

Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row of its fellows that lay upon the mould.

“Drink,” I said, presenting him the wine.

He raised it to his lips with a leer. He paused and nodded to me familiarly, while his bells jingled.

“I drink,” he said, “to the buried that repose around us.”

“And I to your long life.”

He again took my arm, and we proceeded.

“These vaults,” he said, “are extensive.”

“The Montresors,” I replied, “were a great and numerous family.”

“I forget your arms.”

“A huge human foot d‘or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.”

“And the motto?”

Nemo me impune lacessit.”

“Good!” he said.

The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own fancy grew warm with the Medoc. We had passed through walls of piled bones, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs. I paused again, and this time I made bold to seize Fortunato by an arm above the elbow.

“The nitre!” I said: “see, it increases. It hangs like moss upon the vaults. We are below the river‘s bed. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones. Come, we will go back ere it is too late. Your cough ——”

“It is nothing,” he said; “let us go on. But first, another draught of the Medoc.”

(Video) The Cask of Amontillado

I broke and reached him a flaçon of De Grâve. He emptied it at a breath. His eyes flashed with a fierce light. He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand.

I looked at him in surprise. He repeated the movement — a grotesque one.

“You do not comprehend?” he said.

“Not I,” I replied.

“Then you are not of the brotherhood.”


“You are not of the masons.”

“Yes, yes,” I said; “yes, yes.”

“You? Impossible! A mason?”

“A mason,” I replied.

“A sign,” he said.

“It is this,” I answered, producing a trowel from beneath the folds of myroquelaire.

“You jest,” he exclaimed, recoiling a few paces. “But let us proceed to the Amontillado.”

“Be it so,” I said, replacing the tool beneath the cloak and again offering him my arm. He leaned upon it heavily. We continued our route in search of the Amontillado. We passed through a range of low arches, descended, passed on, and descending again, arrived at a deep crypt, in which the foulness of the air caused our flambeaux rather to glow than flame.

At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains, piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the fourth the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size. Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones, we perceived a still interior recess, in depth about four feet, in width three, in height six or seven. It seemed to have been constructed for no especial use within itself, but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite.

It was in vain that Fortunato, uplifting his dull torch, endeavoured to pry into the depths of the recess. Its termination the feeble light did not enable us to see.

“Proceed,” I said; “herein is the Amontillado. As for Luchesi ——”

“He is an ignoramus,” interrupted my friend, as he stepped unsteadily forward, while I followed immediately at his heels. In an instant he had reached the extremity of the niche, and finding his progress arrested by the rock, stood stupidly bewildered. A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite. In its surface were two iron staples, distant from each other about two feet, horizontally. From one of these depended a short chain, from the other a padlock. Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it. He was too much astounded to resist. Withdrawing the key I stepped back from the recess.

(Video) The Cask of Amontillado Reading

“Pass your hand,” I said, “over the wall; you cannot help feeling the nitre. Indeed, it isverydamp. Once more let meimploreyou to return. No? Then I will positively leave you. But I must first render you all the little attentions in my power.”

“The Amontillado!” ejaculated my friend, not yet recovered from his astonishment.

“True,” I replied; “the Amontillado.”

As I said these words I busied myself among the pile of bones of which I have before spoken. Throwing them aside, I soon uncovered a quantity of building stone and mortar. With these materials and with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche.

I had scarcely laid the first tier of my masonry when I discovered that the intoxication of Fortunato had in a great measure worn off. The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning cry from the depth of the recess. It wasnotthe cry of a drunken man. There was then a long and obstinate silence. I laid the second tier, and the third, and the fourth; and then I heard the furious vibrations of the chain. The noise lasted for several minutes, during which, that I might hearken to it with the more satisfaction, I ceased my labours and sat down upon the bones. When at last the clanking subsided, I resumed the trowel, and finished without interruption the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh tier. The wall was now nearly upon a level with my breast. I again paused, and holding the flambeaux over the mason-work, threw a few feeble rays upon the figure within.

A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a brief moment I hesitated, I trembled. Unsheathing my rapier, I began to grope with it about the recess; but the thought of an instant reassured me. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs, and felt satisfied. I reapproached the wall. I replied to the yells of him who clamoured. I re-echoed — I aided — I surpassed them in volume and in strength. I did this, and the clamourer grew still.

It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed the eighth, the ninth, and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. I struggled with its weight; I placed it partially in its destined position. But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognising as that of the noble Fortunato. The voice said —

“Ha! ha! ha! — he! he! he! — a very good joke, indeed — an excellent jest. We will have many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo — he! he! he! — over our wine — he! he! he!”

“The Amontillado!” I said.

“He! he! he! — he! he! he! — yes, the Amontillado. But is it not getting late? Will not they be awaiting us at the palazzo — the Lady Fortunato and the rest? Let us be gone.”

“Yes,” I said, “let us be gone.”

For the love of God, Montresor!

“Yes,” I said, “for the love of God!”

But to these words I hearkened in vain for a reply. I grew impatient. I called aloud —


No answer. I called again —

“Fortunato!” No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells. My heart grew sick — on account of the dampness of the catacombs. I hastened to make an end of my labour. I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them.In pace requiescat!

Edgar Allan Poe

(Video) Cask of Amontillado Full Edgar Allan Poe

Originally Published in 1846

Image by Bernie Wrightson


What are Montresor's final words? ›

Montresor's response of “Yes, for the love of God!” mocks Fortunato in his moment of desperate vulnerability. However, Fortunato refuses to acknowledge this final insult. On the verge of death, he uses silence as his final weapon.

Is Montresor sane or insane? ›

Answer and Explanation: Montresor is not insane in "The Cask of Amontillado", as he is aware of his actions and that he is wrong to murder someone.

Does Montresor regret killing Fortunato? ›

Specifically, guilt for killing Fortunato , and in the cruel way that he did. The earliest hints of Montresor feeling regret over his actions appear towards the end of the story.

What is the message of the story The Cask of Amontillado? ›

The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Poe, he sends a message that revenge may blind the eye towards happiness. In the beginning of the story Montresor shows that he is planning revenge on Fortunato and that is the only thing on Montresor mind.

Is Montresor a serial killer? ›

His devilish behavior in the story as he lures his friend into the underground catacombs and brutally murders him is scary to imagine happening. It seems that everything Montresor does in this story is something only a serial killer with a serious mental illness can even consider doing.

Did Montresor feel guilty at the end? ›

In the end, Montresor successfully kills Fortunato, but due to the guilt he can never forget, he never gets away with the crime.

What does Montresor symbolize? ›

Montresor means treasure in french. The treasure the narrator owns in this case is the understanding of perfect revenge for what Fortunato has done to him.

Who is the killer in The Cask of Amontillado? ›

Answer and Explanation: The killer in "The Cask of Amontillado" is the narrator, Montresor.

Was Montresor insane justify your answer? ›

Montressor, from the story “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe, is insane because he lies about wine to get Fortunato into the catacombs, he plays off of Fortunato's ego, and he buries Fortunato alive.

What are 3 main ideas for The Cask of Amontillado? ›

The main themes in “The Cask of Amontillado” are ambivalence, self-delusion, and substance abuse.

Is Montresor happy with his revenge? ›

Montresor's revenge scheme is unsuccessful because it does not ultimately fulfill either of his two rules of revenge: “I must not only punish, but punish with impunity” and “the avenger [must] make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong” (Poe 848).

How does Montresor exact his revenge? ›

Montresor uses Fortunato's arrogance in his favor: by making up a story about Amontillado, Fortunato's favorite wine, and tells Fortunato that he will have another connoisseur taste the wine to test his ability.

What made Montresor sick? ›

At the end of the story, what makes Montresor feel sick? It's most likely a combination of the dampness of the tunnels and the nitre, or potassium nitrate, in the air. He does not feel sick about what he's done to Fortunato.

What is the real reason that Montresor kills Fortunato? ›

This is because Montresor murdered Fortunato for a poor reason. Montresor was jealous, of Fortunato's great characteristics.

Why did Montresor's heart grew sick? ›

Why did Montresor's "heart grow sick"? The dampness of the catacombs. In the last portion of the story, Montresor often repeats Fortunato's words.

Is Montresor a reliable narrator? ›

As an audience, we can recognize that Montresor is an unreliable character by questioning his acute memory of spoken words and actions that he specifically recalls on a night that happened 50 years ago.

How does Montresor taunt Fortunato? ›

Fortunato (Italian for “fortunate”) wears the multicolored costume of the jester, including a cone cap with bells. Montresor tells Fortunato that if he is too busy, he will ask a man named Luchesi to taste it.

What mental condition do you think Montresor had as manifested in his behavior throughout the story? ›

In this short story, Montresor exhibits several symptoms of antisocial personality disorder, such as paranoia. <<NICE TOPIC SENTENCE The “thousand injuries” Montresor has suffered “at the hand of Fortunato” (Poe 166) are a manifestation of Montresor's delusional thinking.

Did Montresor succeed in killing Fortunato? ›

In 'The Cask of Amontillado,' Montresor kills Fortunato by building a wall around him in the depths of the wine cellar/ catacombs, sealing him inside.

Is Montresor dying? ›

No, Montresor does not die in The Cask of Amontillado. The story is told from Montresor's point of view, he is talking or confessing to an unknown listener about the time he killed someone he describes a fellow nobleman.

Did Montresor burn Fortunato? ›

The story ends with Montresor throwing a flaming torch into the small opening while he continues to put the last brick in place, essentially burning Fortunato alive. Edgar Allan Poe creates conflict between characters Montresor and Fortunato which primarily creates the major theme of revenge in this story.

Why does Montresor wear a mask? ›

The black mask symbolizes darkness. While Fortunato wears a bright cap with bells on the end for the carnival, Montresor on the other hand wears a black mask and cloak. This gives the reader a mysterious vibe from him. He would wear this cloak and mask because he was onto something more sinister.

What does Fortunato symbolize? ›

In Italian, fortunato means fortunate, or lucky. A final symbol that is worthy of mentioning is Montresor's family crest and motto, which represents Montresor's plan to kill Fortunato and his desire for revenge.

What is the irony in The Cask of Amontillado? ›

Dramatic irony is created throughout the story because the reader knows that Montresor hates Fortunado and he is luring him into the catacombs for a dark purpose. In another example of situational irony, Fortunado is dressed as a jester in the story. He is dressed for a night of revelry and fun.

What happens at the end of The Cask of Amontillado? ›

End of the story is horrifying and shocking: Montresor traps and entombs living Fortunato behind the brick wall. The victim cries to the executioner: "For the love of God"(Poe, 214) but the only respond is ironical repeat of his own words.

Is The Cask of Amontillado a true story? ›

Cask of Amontillado

The legend wasn't true. Military records show Drane was promoted to captain and died in 1846. But Edgar Allan Poe kept the legend alive. In 1846, he published The Cask of Amontillado in Godey's Lady's Book.

Who is Montresor telling the story to? ›

Therefore Montresor is telling this story to confess to God. Montresor is telling the story to his noble family because he regrets it. In the story it said he had a great and numerous family with catacombs.

Was the revenge of Montresor justified why? ›

Another reason why Montresor is justified in his actions is because no one else could end his quarrel with Fortunato, nevertheless, the only option Montresor is left with is to put an end to his problems with Fortunato, and the only way Montresor could make his issues with Fortunato come to an immediate halt is to end ...

Is revenge ever justified in The Cask of Amontillado? ›

Answer and Explanation:

In "The Cask of Amontillado," revenge is not justified. The narrator, Montresor, tells his listener that Fortunato had he had borne "the thousand injuries of Fortunato" and that an insult pushed him into revenge.

Is Montresor psychotic? ›

Although he appears to be a psychopath in the way he wants to kill his enemy, he is a master of system, accuracy and calm, and he does not lose his temper at all. He has thought about his plan how to kill Fortunato quite carefully and in detail, so that he can make sure that nothing unexpected will happen.

What is the narrator's last name in The Cask of Amontillado? ›

Summary. The narrator, Montresor, opens the story by stating that he has been irreparably insulted by his acquaintance, Fortunato, and that he seeks revenge.

What insult does Fortunato inflicts on Montresor? ›

As said in the short story Fortunato insults Montresor in the past: “THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge” (Poe ).

What is the costume of Fortunato? ›

Fortunato wears “motley,” and a cap with bells. This is classic fool or jester's garb, but as any fool will tell you, fools have more than one side. That's why the motley outfit is multi-colored, in patches, to represent the multiple aspects of the fool's personality.

Who did Montresor confess to? ›

Therefore Montresor is telling this story to confess to God. Montresor is telling the story to his noble family because he regrets it. In the story it said he had a great and numerous family with catacombs.

What does Montresor symbolize? ›

Montresor means treasure in french. The treasure the narrator owns in this case is the understanding of perfect revenge for what Fortunato has done to him.

What is Fortunato guilty of? ›

Anthony Fortunato was found guilty of manslaughter as a hate crime yesterday, after intense arguments by the jury. He was the second man found guilty of the crime. Fortunato was accused of killing Michael Sandy in a hate crime after luring him to a known gay cruising spot at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn.

Why is the name Fortunato ironic? ›

The first aspect of irony, in the story is of the characters name Fortunato. It is derived from the word “Fortun” which means fortunate. This makes it an ironic name to have for a man that is about to an unfortunate fate.

How is Montresor's name ironic? ›

Poe's second use of iron is the meaning of Montresor's name. The true meaning of Montresor is “my treasure,” you would not expect a cruel person to be a treasure. Poe's first use of symbolism is when Montresor dresses Fortunado up like a jester portraying him as being a fool for lacking good sense and being gullible.

What does Fortunato symbolize? ›

In Italian, fortunato means fortunate, or lucky. A final symbol that is worthy of mentioning is Montresor's family crest and motto, which represents Montresor's plan to kill Fortunato and his desire for revenge.


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