Edgar Allen Poe has always been known for his dark, mysterious, and twisted stories. Nearly all of his stories are praised, and they have some sort of unknown motive and background to them. In "The Cask of Amontillado," Poe tells a tale of revenge and humiliation. The way this particular story symbolizes Poe's work that has a mind-boggling ending. Although there is no motive, Poe uses symbolism to try to answer questions in the short story. The key symbols are the amontillado, the clown costume, and the way Fortunato dies.
The amontillado was a significant symbol because it is what is used to lure Fortunato and represents a rare attitude. Even though Montresor never even actually had this rare wine, he tempted Fortunato to come with him to his Luchesi. Perhaps this shows Fortunato's curiousity and temptations towards higher traditions in life. Amontillado is rare, precious, and expensive. Its rarity perhaps this is used as bait that Montresor uses to get Fortunato to come with him to his mansion. He might even want to brag about drinking this luxurious wine. This might be his pride setting in; he wants to prove to people that he is above all else.
The clown costume plays a significant role as well. This is Montresor's way of humiliating Fortunato further for the anger he has caused Montresor. Montresor wants Fortunato to die like the fool that he is. The symbols in this story of Poe's are somewhat humiliating. The clown costume depicts him in a humiliating way, and Montresor recognizes this. The carnival was a similar symbolic key as well as the clown costume. Obviously, people dress up at carnivals and get out of the normal habits he usually done during the regular days. This was one Poe's way of getting Montresor to get out of his "normal" ways and become devious. Carnival has always represented a time of celebration; this could have been Montresor's celebration of the revenge he extracts upon Fortunato.