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Murder, Motivation and Method in "The Cask of Amontillado" by Poe

Although Edgar Allen Poe has presented more terrifying characters that Montresor, he

has presented Montresor in a unique light of the culture. Amontillado is an Italian variety of

wine that is often drunk during Christmas and other such festivals. The story is of Montresor

who was insulted by Fortunato, one of his friends. I declares it in the very start of the story

that "I would have revenge" (01). He want Fortunato to pay in the same coin. In this way, this

become a motivation for Montresor to murder Fortunato in the cold blood though very

deceptively and surreptitiously. In fact, Montresor resolved it in the very beginning of the

story that he would be taking revenge of the insults hurled by Fortunato "thousands times"

and that he belonged to "an old and honored" family (01). His resolve to kill and then the way

to trap him to go with him to catacomb shows this story of murder having a strong motivation

and a very deceptive method of killing.

As far as motive is concerned, Montresor bore insults of Fortunato several times but

could not do anything. However, the last insult of mocking their family name which was very

honorable family increased his anger. He became very revengeful and determined to exact

revenge from him for dishonoring his family. He was determined that he would make him to
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pay for this insult. The prime motive of insulting his family coupled with several other

motives become a strong motivation for the murder. However, what he resolved was that he

would murder Fortunato but not in a way that he should himself pay for him.

The method that Montresor adopted has been very tricky and deceptive. He did not kill

him with a stone, or a weapon or strangulation. This would have led him to be caught by the

police and hanged. He adopted a different method. He knew that Fortunato loved Amontillado

and a cask would enough for him to lure him to some building. For this, he selected "the great

stone palace" after having taken Amontillado (04). He also ensured that nobody watched it

and that he also used Luchresi as his rival in identifying Amontillado to which Fortunato felt

jealous of. The major purpose of adopting this method is to ensure that "I would act only with

the greatest care" in that "I must not suffer", Montresor says (01). Then when he took him to

the catacomb, he ensured that he is taking great care of him so that he should not become

suspicious. This is a great planning that he does not let anybody doubt his sincerity about

Fortunato and brings him down to the catacomb to close him behind a while.

The murder also happens to be horrifying and gruesome. He takes great care that the

voice of Fortunato does not come out. He chained him there and locked him with a pillar of

the wall. Although Fortunato understood at that time that something sinister was going to

happen, but he was fully drunk. He could not do anything. And he sat there questioning

Montresor, who started building the wall in front of him. Although Fortunato did not try to

break free, he said good bye to Montresor "For the love of God" and then closed the opening

praying to God "May he rest in peace!" (09). This is how he kills Fortunato.
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In this way, the story becomes a Gothic fiction of murder and mystery. The

protagonist, Montresor, could not bear the insult to his honorable family and resolved to exact

revenge by killing Fortunato. He resolved to kill him to exact revenge and still should not

suffer himself. That is why after having a great motivation, he makes a great plan and finally

brings him to the catacomb in his villa and builds a wall in front of him after chaining him to

the pillar. This is how the story "The Cask of Amontillado" becomes a great story of murder.
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Works Cited

Poe, Edgar Allen. "The Cask of Amontillado. Literature Online. n. d. Web. 16 Oct. 2017