In the short story, “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe wastes no time in revealing the story's theme. Revenge. Within the first sentence, the story's narrator, Montresor, vows revenge upon his antagonist, Fortunato, for a perceived insult which proved to be one insult to many. Montresor states, “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.” Montresor is a static character. His one aim is to not only kill Fortunato for the “thousand injuries” and for this latest insult, but to see him suffer as well. Through his words and subsequent deeds we can also identify the trait of sadism in Montresor. “A wrong is redressed when retribution overtakes its redresser,” claims Montresor. He continues, “It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.” Montresor's aims are clear. Redress his perceived wrongs, punish the man who he feels wronged him, and make himself known to his offender as the one who has killed him. And while doing so, make him suffer in a way equal to the pain Montresor must have felt when insulted by Fortunato. Montresor displays several other traits, each of which support the notion that his character remains static. Montresor is intelligent. The details and execution of his plan reveal a cunning and keen mind. He has studied and knows Fortunato's habits well. Fortunato is a drunkard; a bored man of excess. Montresor lures Fortunato to the catacombs in which he will eventually kill him, and does so by suggesting that Luchesi, an apparent rival of Fortunato, might be better suited to help Montresor determine if the cask in his possession is indeed Amontillado. He manipulates Fortunato by pretending to be happy to see him and feigning concern for his health, even pleading at times to allow him to bring Fortunato out of the catacombs and into the fresh air where he can regain his breath. Each time he...
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