The Cask Of Amontillado: Lit. Analysis Essay, Research Paper
Literary Analysis: The Cask of Amontillado
In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Cask of Amontillado,” a character named
Montresor vows revenge on the man who insulted him too many times. You might
wonder why he wants to be avenged so badly. This literary analysis will show evidence
of why Montresor killed Fortunato.
Toward the beginning of the story Montresor appears to be a crazy man. He lets
the reader know that when he says “I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face,
and he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation” 1
(pg. 703). This leads you to believe that the entire plan of murdering Fortunato was pre-
meditated. Montresor knows that getting ultimate revenge on Fortunato has to be done
with impunity. If there was any chance Fortunato could get back at him, he would not
be successful. The idea of killing Fortunato is one of the only ways a person could exact
revenge with impunity. Montresor decides to use the wine vault as Fortunato’s final
Clint Kale Pg. 2
This is ironic because Fortunato is well known as an expert in wine. When Fortunato
starts coughing Montresor urges him to go back; this only makes Fortunato want the
cask more. Montresor replies, “You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are
happy, as once I was… “You are a man to be missed.” “For me it is no matter” (pg. 704).
Montresor is bitter, disgraced and probably jealous of Fortunato from the evidence of
The coat of arms in the Montresor family is one of the biggest clues as to why
he killed Fortunato. Montresor describes to Fortunato the picture of his arms: “A huge
human foot d’or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are
imbedded in the heel” (pg. 705). This is symbolic of the entire story. Montresor is the
serpent and Fortunato is the foot. Fortunato may have trounced upon his feelings but
Montresor will have the last laugh when Fortunato becomes poisoned.
Toward the end of the story, the reader knows why Montresor killed Fortunato.
He now does not seem like the same crazy person he was at the beginning of the story.
Although he does kill Fortunato, Montresor keeps a very methodical approach to doing
Montresor’s coat of arms motto is “Nemo me impune lacessit” (pg. 705).
Which means “No one insults me with impunity.” This means Montresor is following his
family motto perfectly. Which makes it clear why Montresor killed Fortunato. He was
protecting the honor in his family.