The Cask of Amontillado

“The Cask of Amontillado” is an 1846 short horror story written by Edgar Allan Poe.

“The Cask of Amontillado”
AuthorEdgar Allan Poe
CountryUnited States
Genre(s)Horror Fiction
Publication dateNovember 1846


“The Cast of Amontillado” begins by recounting the last meeting between two aristocratic gentlemen, the narrator Montresor, and the wine connoisseur Fortunato.[1] Montresor is plotting his revenge for the thousand injuries Fortunato did to him.[2] While at the pre-Lenten festival, Montresor tells Fortunato that he has in his possession a cast of amontillado sherry and does not feel as though it is authentic.[1] Montresor leads Fortunato deep underground to his family catacombs in his palazzo. Although Fortunato has a cough from the nitre, he continues so his rival Luchesi does not steal his opportunity to taste the wine. Once they get into the catacombs Montresor chains him to the wall and begins to use a trowel and fresh mortar to entomb Fortunato.[1]

The story begins at a drinking festival during the Carnivale in an unspecified year in Italy. To entice his victim into his trap and seek revenge over Fortunato's "thousand injuries" against Montresor and his family, Montresor appropriates a key symbol of Freemasonry.



He is the narrator of the story. He's a fascinating and nuanced character whose desire for vengeance drives the plot. His family motto is Nemo me impune lacessit,[3] which translates to "no one insults me with impunity," which explains his motivation for murdering his friend.


His name means "fortunate". He is Montresor's Italian friend who is completely oblivious to his friend's revenge motive. It isn't until Montresor locks him in a crypt and begins to brick him in that Fortunato finally realizes he's been tricked. He is the antagonist of the story and loves vintage wines and carnival attire.

Fortunato apparently has a brotherhood and Montresor recognizes this fact and utilizes it for his own destruction hatred and his longing to lure Fortunate to his death.


Even though Luchesi isn't a key character in the story, he is still talked about. Luchesi is Fortunato's wine-tasting opponent. Montresor doesn't need to bring up Luchesi in order to entice Fortunato to his doom. The prospect of Amontillado is sufficient enough. For Montresor, Luchesi is a type of insurance.

Major Themes

Montresor is motivated by hate and seeks revenge on Fortunato. He feels as if he has insulted him and caused a thousand injuries to him but the injuries are not identified in the short story "The Cask of the Amontillado"

One theme is rivals, Montresor depicts his homicide of Fortunato in a tone of truth.[4] However, his description of the episode offers very little with regard to what he thought and felt.[5] Obviously, a significant part of the analysis of the story is committed to working out Montresor's thought process from the slight detail on offer.[6] Rather than the thought processes that drive individuals to kill.[4] Montresor even makes directed reference toward his anger regarding Fortunato's action.[4] This is manner satisfactory to drive Montresor to kill, how Montresor goes with regards to his vengeance—the hero not looking for fulfillment in a duel yet demanding it through a more barefaced and surprising technique for homicide.[5]

The plot revolves around alcohol and inebriation, with both contributing to Fortunato's gullibility and eventual demise in Montresor's wine cellar. Engaging Fortunato in dialogue ripe with irony, Montresor lures his victim deep into the family catacombs, urging him to try other wines along the way. [7]

One of the themes for the story is unsatisfied. Montresor, at the end of his life, addresses his narrative by saying you should know my soul instead of feeling any guilt he tries to defend and convince you that he is not wrong and does not have any regret.[8]

A theme presented in the story is the callousness of ventures. Montresor appraises his murder as a successful act of vengeance and punishment rather than a crime.[9] Montresor's motto " No one insults me with impunity", interprets that punishing his offender is a matter of fulfilling his duty of honor before his noble ancestry.[10]

Publication History

The short horror story "The Cask of Amontillado" was first published in Philadelphia's monthly magazine, the Godey's Lady Book, in November 1846.

Explanation of the Work's Title

The Cask of Amontillado is translated to Casket of Wine. Montresor uses the wine to talk Fortunato into following him into his family catacombs. That is how Montresor was able to enact his revenge by entombing Fortunato.[1]

Literary Significance and Reception

Awards and Nominations


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Nesbitt 2000, p. 297.
  2. Sipiora 2002, p. 240.
  3. Sipiora 2002, p. 242.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Elhefnawy 2018, p. 103.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Elhefnawy 2018, p. 104.
  6. Elhefnawy 2018, p. 105.
  7. Nesbett 2000, p. 297.
  8. Walter, p. 447.
  9. Baraban 2004, p. 3.
  10. Baraban 2004, p. 6.

Works Cited

Also see the annotated bibliography.

  • Baraban, Elena (2004). "The Motive for Murder in 'The Cask of Amontillado' by Edgar Allan Poe". Rocky Mountain Review of Language & Literature. 58 (2): 16.
  • Elhefnawy, Nader (2018). "Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Cask of Amontillado'". Taylor & Francis, Routledge. 76 (2): 103-105.
  • Foy, Roslyn Reso (October 2015). "Freemasonry, the Brethren, and the Twists of Edgar Allen Poe in 'The Cask of Amontillado'". Taylor & Francis, Routledge. 35 (0014-4940 1939-926X (electronic)): 252–256.
  • Nesbitt, Anna (2000). "Edgar Allan Poe". The Cask of Amontillado. Gale Group. pp. 297–354.
  • Poe, Edgar (2002). "The Cask of Amontillado". In Sipiora, Phillip (ed.). Reading and Writing about Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. pp. 240–244.

Walter, Stepp. "The Ironic Double In Poe's "The Cask Of Amontillado"". 13 (4): 447. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

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