The Cask of Amontillado
Edgar Poe was born in Boston, Mass., on Jan. 19, 1809. His parents were touring actors. He was orphaned at age 3, and taken into the home of John Allan, a merchant of Richmond, VA. His wife raised Edgar as her son, but Allan accepted the boy largely to please her. Later Poe took Allan as his middle name.
Although several characters are mentioned in this story, the focus is on Montresor, the diabolical narrator of this story, who pledges revenge upon Fortunato for an insult. Poe does not intend the reader to sympathize with Montresor because Fortunato has wronged him, but rather to judge him. Poe told the story from Montresor's point of view. This point of view intensifies the effect of moral shock and horror. Poe invites the reader to explore the inner workings of a sinister mind.
The story unfolds as Montresor tells that he has suffered immensely at the hands of Fortunado.
Although specific offenses are not mentioned, it is hinted that Fortunado had dared to insult Montresor. Montresor cannot accept this and vows revenge. Montresor's revenge must be complete. Fortunato had a weakness, which Montresor felt could be advantageous to implementing his plan. Fortunato prided himself upon being a connoisseur of fine wines. Fortunado is baited with the mention of a wine that Montresor knows his friend would be most interested. Montresor skillfully plays Fortunado into wanting to sample this wine. Montresor talks about Amontillado and then expresses doubts about its authenticity. He mentions Luchresi, another wine connoisseur, and Fortunado is trapped. Fortunado must sample this wine to prove to himself and his friend that only he can discern the authenticity of such a fine wine. Montresor lures Fortunado into the catacombs of his estate. During the...