Cask Of AmontilladoOlliver Stedenko
Comp & Lit
The Plot of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”
With the completion of the second paragraph in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” the plot has been made mostly clear. Although you are unaware of who the protagonist is, the motives of this unknown character are very obvious. He has vowed revenge and intends to murder Fortunato. Poe clearly states this by saying “… he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation.” (paragraph 2) An unclear aspect of the plot though, is that Montresor had planned and carefully designed this act of murder.
Planning a murder, an untraceable one at that, would need a formidable amount of preparation. Montresor first needed a way to get Fortunato somewhere in which they would not be heard or seen. He does this by tempting Fortunato to come visit his vaults to taste his newly purchased Amontillado. What makes this portion of Montresor’s plan significant is the time in which he chose to do so. At “about dusk” during “the supreme madness of the carnival” (paragraph 4) is a perfect time for Montresor to disappear with Fortunato unnoticed. And the fact that Fortunato is wearing a “motley” (paragraph 4) or a clown costume only helps ensure that he won’t be recognized when in the presence of Montresor. Also, Montresor explains that no attendants would be present in his home because “ they had absconded to make merry in honor of the time.” (paragraph 24)
The next set of evidence supporting the idea that Montresor had put a lot of thought and planning into the murder is when he pulls the trowel out from the folds in his cloak. That wouldn’t seem like a big deal until you continue reading and learn exactly how Montresor goes about killing Fortunato. The fact that Montresor “ uncovered a quantity of building stone and mortar” (paragraph 75) from underneath a pile of bones, and just happened to have his trowel inside his roquelaire seems a little peculiar. And there was enough materials there for him to build a complete wall over the niche measuring 6 foot by 3 foot. The staples and chains that were already attached to the wall, deep in the recess, before the two men arrived seems a little mysterious as well.
Although Poe isn’t blunt and doesn’t just come out and say that Montresor had carefully designed the act in which was done to Fortunato, I believe that he tries to make it fairly obvious. He provides a lot of details and supporting evidence that may lead one to believe that it was a carefully planned homicide. The way in which he describes and chose to play out the situation, hints at what Poe was trying to reveal in this horrific short story.