In The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe, the tale is told in 1st person by an extremely vengeful character. This character, Montresor, would first appear to the reader as a victim but in reality, he is plotting to take the life of Fortunato. Montresor is a very manipulative and vengeful person. One would suspect this through his words, “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.
Through his thoughts, acts and words, we are able to watch his plan for revenge unfold. After reading the tale, I felt as if the clothing of both characters seemed to set the mood for both their personalities. Fortunato wore a “tight fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by a conical cap and bells. ” This jester type clothing seemed to show the reader that he was a fun and vivacious character, but after reading the text, maybe Poe was foreshadowing about his foolish nature.
In my opinion, Fortunato’s character was round but flat. He was the unsuspecting victim, and even up until the last moments before Montresor seals up his tomb, he holds on to the idea that a joke is being played on him. “Ha! Ha! Ha! -He! He! He! – a very good joke, indeed an excellent jest,” he said. On the other end of the spectrum, we have Montresor. His clothes were not light and lively as Fortunato’s were. They were dark and evil. He dons a “mask of black silk” and a heavy knee length cloak. I felt as if this may have foreshadowed death.
The clothes of a grim reaper. Montresor’s character was both round and static. Round because he was a very developed character but static because he didn’t ultimately change throughout the story. He remained vengeful and manipulative to the end. His two-faced nature began with this line, “It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as my wont, to smile in his face. ” He uses Fortunato’s connoisseurship of wine to lead him to his demise.
Unsuspecting of what Montresor had planned, he was lured away from the carnival where they bumped into eachother to Montresor’s catacombs where the cask of wine “from Montilla” was being stored to test it for quality. As the story develops, the reader can see that the death of Fortunato was well thought out. When they reach Montresor’s home, all the servants had been released for the day. As they travel through the catacombs, Montresor keeps giving Fortunato samples of his wine in order to keep him drunk. He even displays condescending traits by acting concerned about Fortunato’s cold by saying. our health is precious. (implying that the conditions of the catacombs weren’t good for his health)
You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are as happy as I once was. You are a man to be missed. ” In the end, Montresor succeeds in his plan of revenge on Fortunato. He bricks him up in a wall. One line in the story that peaked my interest most and reiterated to me what a dark character Montresor was stated, “For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. ” Which tells me, he didn’t speak of his deed for fifty years. He must of had a twisted mind to live with it that long.