Social Status as Addressed in "The Cask of Amontillado"

Poes The Cask of Amontillado is a story of man who confesses that he killed a man5o years ago. The motive of his malicious killing and his confession is not revealed in the story. Critics and scholars try to analyse the reason why Montresor killed his friend Fortunato, but have not come up with common suggestions. In fact, some of the scholars such as Stephen Peithman and Stuart Levine believe that Montresor has a mental problem. They belive he is insane. Montresor tricks Fortunato to taste a new Amontillado wine at his vault. When they reach at the vault, Montresor chains Fortunato to the wall. He then mortar a stone wall to seal the entrance of the vault so that Fortunato will die there. Fortunato cries helplessly, but Montresor is not touched by the cries. The main reason why Montresor killed Fortunato was because of the social class conflict that the two had. This paper describes the Social Status as Addressed in "The Cask of Amontillado". It reveals how a character can use his social status to punish others with no proof of committed crime.


Montresor, the narrator in this poem, starts with a statement that Fortunato, his acquaintance has insulted him. He seeks revenge for what his friend had one to him. However, the he wants to have a revenge that will not risk his life. Therefore, he decides that Fortunatos fondness will be the best tool to use in accomplishing his goal. During the festive season, the narrator wears mask and approaches Fortunato. In disguise, Montresor tells Fortunato that he has something that could send to Amontillado, a fortified Spanish wine. Fortunato, whose name means Fortune in Italian, wears a coloured jester. He also wears a cone cap that has bells. The narrator tells Fortunato that he will ask Luchesi to taste the wine in case he was too busy to do it. However, Fortunato is uncomfortable to have Luchesi taste the wine because he is a competitor. Fortunato is eager to taste the wine so that he can tell Montresor whether there is the taste of Amontillado. However, he insists they have to do that at Montresors treasure house.

Montresor has prepared for this meeting so that he could achieve his goal. In fact, he had sent his servants to the carnival so that the vault could be empty. When they arrive at the vault, two men appear. They are covered with a whitish mineral known as nitre. Apparently, nitre aggravates Fortunato, making him start coughing. Montresor keeps telling Fortunato to go home, but he is not willing to do that. Instead, Fortunato decides to taste the wine despite the fact that he has a severe cough. The men who have entered the vault explore the dead bodies in the vault, belonging to members of Montresors family. Considering the situation that he is in, Fortunato claims that he had forgotten the motto and coat of arms of the Montresors family. In response this, Montresor reminds Fortunato that his family has a shield that depicts that the family has a foot which can destroy a serpent. He also reminds him of the Montresors family which is, no one attacks me with impunity.

As they continue with the journey, Fortunato sighs with his hand. This is a secret sigh that the Masons use. The reader is made to understand the mason is a private familial organization that Fortunato is a member. Montresor claims to be a Mason, but he does not understand the sign. Fortunato asks Montresor to proof that he is a Mason. In response, Montresor displays a trowel, an implication that he is a stonemason is a by the virtue of being Montresor. Fortunato responds that Montresor must be joking. As the two continue with the journey, the come across a crypt that has human bones decorating the wall. There of the walls of the crypt are completely made of human bones, and the fourth one has some of the bones on the ground. There is a small niche on the fourth wall. Montresor points out that Amontillado will be stored in that recess. Suddenly, Montresor chains Fortunato tightly to a stone.

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Montresor starts to mock Fortunato that he can now leave the recess. He begins to make a wall at the entrance of the crypt, leaving Fortunato chained inside there. As Montresor makes the wall close Fortunato inside the recess, Fortunato cries and screams for help. Soon, the alcohol fades, and Fortunato screams, helpless and terrified. Fortunato becomes silent as the layers rise continuously. When Montresor is almost finishing the wall, Fortunato laughs sarcastically, as if he is joking with him by making the wall. Finally, Fortunato makes a final plea that stated that For the love of God, Montresor!. Then, he stops answering whatever Montresor is asking. Montresor calls Fortunatos name twice with no response. The lack of response terrifies Montresor. He points out that he is uncomfortable because of the catacombs dampness. As he installs the last stone, only a single rattling of Fortunatos chimes accompanies him. Finally, he relocates the bones of the remaining wall. The narrator points out that no one disturbed the bones for fifty years. He leaves Fortunato to rest in peace at the catacombs.

In this well-documented gothic tale, Poe shows how injuries and insults can result into revenge. Montresor uses his social status to eliminate Fortunato, claiming that he insulted him. He kills his friend claiming that he insulted him. However, he does not mention the insult anywhere in the story. There is no insult worth death. In fact, no one is there when Fortunato faces his death. Montresor does not want to face the legal system of retribution. He prefers taking law on his hands, and kill Fortunato without being noticed or questioned. Fortunato goes through a tough punishment, with no proof that he had insulted Montresor. The narrator makes himself the judge, the prosecutor, the jury and the executioner. In addition, Montresor keeps the occurrence as a secret for fifty years. This means that no one had been able to discover that he is the one who killed Fortunato. Poe uses imagery to show Montresors motives. When Montresor went to tell Montresor that he has a swine that he wants him to taste, he wears a coloured mask. This represents biased revenge and blind justice in the society. The colour in the setting shows Fortunatos death ironic death sentence. Poe selects a carnival setting because of its relinquishment of the social order. Usually, carnival represents a thrilled social interaction session. However, Montresor distorts the merry unrestraint and does the unexpected.

In conclusion, Montresor, who is the narrator of the "The Cask of Amontillado" He kills his friend Fortunato, claiming that he insulted him. He traps Fortunato by telling him that he want him to taste some wine. He convinces him to go with him at his house. When they reached the destination, he chains his friend and builds a wall at the exit. Fortunato dies at the vault with no one to recognise his death until after 50 years when the murderer confesses he is the killer. Montresor must have been mentally ill to kill his friend because of unmentioned insult. This is a story of social class conflict which Poe creates, as analysed in this paper.

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