Foreshadowing the Fate in “The Cask of Amontillado”
In “Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe presents a murderous tale of revenge revealed as the confession of a man who murdered another man over fifty years ago because of an “insult.” During a carnival festival, the murderer led his companion to the catacombs where he buried the man alive. The charter of Montresor lures his victim, Fortunato with the promise of a fine sherry, amontillado. As Poe’s character of Montresor guides the wine connoisseur, Fortunato, Poe symbolically foreshadows the impending murder. Before even reading the story Poe foreshadows Fortunato’s fate with the title of the story. In the title of Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado” the “cask” is short for casket.
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The noise that everyone was making plays a part in foreshadowing the demise of Fortunato. Because of the noise no one would hear the screams of the dieing Fortunato beneath the earth. As Montresor guilds his victim, Fortunato, through his family catacombs, they come to a clear indication that Montresor’s murderous intent, his family coat of arms. The golden foot is the rich Fortunato stepping on the snake, Montresor, who then fatally wounded the foot. Walter Steep author of “the Ironic Double in Poe’s “the Cask of Amontillado”” agrees that Montresor most likely identifies with “the snake—Secrecy, cunning, serpentine subtlety,” and Fortunato the foot, “Large, powerful, and very clumsy,” (448). Another way to look at the coat of arms is that Fortunato is the snake wounding Montresor and Montresor is the foot killing the snake for injuring him. Either way the coat of arms shows clearly the intent of Montresor. The motto of the Montresor family is another clear sign of what is planed by Montresor. The motto “Nemo me impune lacessit” (Poe 675), meaning no one wounds me with impunity, is not only a threat but a promise to those who insult the Montresor family, that they will pay. To protect his family honor Montresor must not let the man who wounded him go without punishment. Nathan Cervo, author of “Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado” has another theory on the meaning on the motto.