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I only meant to queue up the story on my Kindle to read later, but the voice of Montresor caught me and pulled me in. This is a quick little story. Fortunato has insulted Montresor many times in the past, but Montresor has finally had it. We don’t learn what the straw was that broke the camel’s back, but Montresor feels justified in taking his revenge. This isn’t going to be some bland duel either. Fortunato is going to die, he’s going to know who his killer is, and Montresor is going get away with it. Montresor is a determined man and a smart man. He plays to Fortunato’s vanity to lead him to his doom.
What makes this story stand out for me is that Poe makes the reader complicit in Montresor’s scheme. At the beginning of his narration, Montresor addresses the reader: “You, who know so well the nature of my soul…” And we are led to laugh a bit, especially on a second reading, when Montresor toasts to Fortunato’s long life and later makes a Mason’s pun. What Montresor is doing is probably completely unreasonable—what insult could have possibly been made?—but we’re going along with it.
Random bell ring (no pun intended): The huge golden foot on Montresor’s coat of arms reminded me of the statue in The Castle of Otranto.
I also find it funny that the “The Cask of Amontillado” was published in Godey’s Lady’s Book, a pre-Civil War fashion magazine.