A Tale of Revenge in The Cask of the Amontillado
“The Cask of Amontillado” is a powerful tale of revenge. Montresor, the sinister narrator of this tale, pledges revenge upon Fortunato for an insult. Montresor intends to seek vengeance in support of his family motto: “Nemo me impune lacessit.”(“No one assails me with impunity.”) On the coat of arms, which bears this motto, appears ” a huge human foot d’or, in a field of azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are embedded in the heel.” It is important for Montresor to have his victim know what is happening to him. Montresor will derive pleasure from the fact that “…as Fortunato slowly dies, the thought of his rejected opportunities of escape will sting him with unbearable regret, and as he sobers with terror, the final blow will come from the equalization that his craving for the wine has led him to his doom. “The Cask of Amontillado” is about one man’s family revenge on another family.
In structure, there can be no doubt, that both Montresor’s plan of revenge and Poe’s story are carefully crafted to create the desired effect. Poe writes this story from the perspective of Montresor who vows revenge against Fortunato in an effort to support his time-honored family motto: “Nemo me impune lacessit” or “No one assails me with impunity.” (No one can attack me without being punished.) Poe does not intend for the reader to sympathize with Montresor because Fortunato has wronged him, but rather to judge him. Telling the story from Montresor’s point of view, intensifies the effect of moral shock and horror. Once again, the reader is invited to delve into the inner workings of a sinister mind. This part of the story is very disturbing and emotionally unstable. Fortunato undergoes a change from laughter and thinking a practical joke is being played on him to a groaning realization that he is a dead man. This is the place where we chose to make our project.
Although several characters are mentioned in this story, the true focus lies upon Montresor, the diabolical narrator of this tale of horror, who pledges revenge upon Fortunato for an insult. When the two meet during the carnival season, there is a warm greeting with excessive shaking of hands, which Montresor attributes to the fact that Fortunato had been drinking. Montresor also appears to be “happy” to see Fortunato since he is planning to murder him. Fortunato’s clown or jester’s costume appears to be appropriate not only for the carnival season but also for the fact that Montresor intends to make a “fool” out of him.