The cask of amontillado

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Instituto Bilingüe Internacional


The cask of amontillado

Christian Hospina



I. Summary
Montresor tells the story of the day that he took his revenge on Fortunato, a fellow nobleman. Angry over some unspecified insult, he plots to murder his friend during Carnival when the man is drunk, dizzy, and wearing a jester's motley.
He baits Fortunato bytelling him he has obtained what he believes to be a pipe of a rare vintage of Amontillado. He claims he wants his friend's expert opinion on the subject. Fortunato goes with Montresor to the wine cellars of the latter's palazzo, where they wander in the catacombs. Montresor warns Fortunato, who has a bad cough, of the damp, and
suggests they go back; Fortunato insists on continuing, claiming that"he shall not die of a cough." During their walk, Montresor mentions his family coat of arms: a foot in a blue background crushing a snake whose fangs are embedded in the foot's heel, with the motto Nemo me impune lacessit ("No one insults me with impunity"). When they come to a niche, Montresor tells his victim that the Amontillado is within. Fortunato enters and, drunk and unsuspecting, doesnot resist as Montresor quickly chains him to the wall. Montresor then declares that, since Fortunato won't go back, he must "positively leave him".
Montresor walls up the niche, entombing his friend alive. At first, Fortunato, who sobers up faster than Montresor anticipated he would, shakes the chains, trying to escape. Fortunato then screams for help, but Montresor mocks his cries, knowing nobodycan hear them. Fortunato laughs weakly and tries to pretend that he is the subject of a joke and that people will be waiting for him (including the Lady Fortunato). As the murderer finishes the topmost row of stones, Fortunato wails, "For the love of God, Montresor!" Montresor replies, "Yes, for the love of God!" He listens for a reply but hears only the jester's bells ringing. Before placing thelast stone, he drops a burning torch through the gap. He claims that he feels sick at heart, but dismisses this reaction as an effect of the dampness of the catacombs.
In the last few sentences, Montresor reveals that it has been 50 years since that night, he has never been caught, and Fortunato's body still hangs from its chains in the niche where he left it. The murderer, seeminglyunrepentant, ends the story by remarking: In pace requiescat! ("May he rest in peace!").

II. Glossary
Amontillado: Dry, amber wine. The word Amontillado is derived from Montilla, the name of a Spanish town. The suffix ado means in the style of. Thus, Amontillado is a wine in the style of the kind made in Montilla, Spain.

Aperture: Opening.

Carnival: Festival just before Lent. It is called MardiGras in some western countries. The word carnival is derived from the Latin words carne (meat) and vale (farewell). Thus, it literally means “farewell to meat.” During Lent, Roman Catholics do not eat meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays thereafter, until Easter.

Catacombs: Underground burial places.

Circumbscribing: Encircling, surrounding; tracing a line around. 

Fetter: Shackle,chain, bond.

Flambeau: Torch; plural, flambeaux.

Hearken: Listen carefully.

Immolate; Kill a person as a sacrifice.

Imposture: Deception, fraud.

Impunity: Freedom from punishment; exempt from punishment.

Médoc: Red wine from the Bordeaux region of France.

Motley: Apparel of many colors; jester’s costume.

Nemo me impune lacessit: Latin for No one injures me withimpunity. This
sentence appeared on coins of James I of England.

Nitre: Potassium nitrate.

Palazzo: Palace; splendid home.

Pipe: Cask holding 126 gallons.

Puncheon: Cask holding  84 gallons.

Rapier: Two-edged sword.

Rheum: Watery discharge.

III What is the story about?
The Cask of Amontillado’’ was first published in the November 1846 issue of Godey's Lady's Book, a...
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