what was the insult that Montressor attributes to Fortunado in The Cask of Amontillado?

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same as summary of question in Subject Line; except for the irony that M could not exact revenge on F with impunity and that F actually ended up punishing M (because his murder of F preyed on his mind allowing him no rest, no peace, and no impunity)with impunity (since he was dead he could not be further punished or harmed), i don't get it! what was the insult that causes M to murder F? how did M die; was he asphyxiated from lack of oxygen? was it too damp in the catacombs for the nitre to catch alight and wouldn't this have caused an explosion and also killed M? thank you for any assistance!

-- Anonymous, October 13, 2000



Your question is interesting in that our interpretations of this tale are at odds. Certainly, this does not mean to infer that mine is the correct interpretation thats the fun of reading Poes work. However, I have read this story dozens of times since I was in my teens and another dozen or so to my own children. I have yet to conclude the story with the perception that Montresor felt, in the least, remorseful or regretful.

As for the insult that drove Montresor to premeditated murder, it was an intentional omission on Poes part. Frankly, it was unimportant to the story line and Poe wanted the reader to judge the murderer and not be distracted by the magnitude of the offense. At least, for me, it was of sufficient outrage to warrant retribution in the mind of Montresor. Of course, he was also compelled somewhat by the family motto as well.

As for the nitre, it is merely a mineral deposit leached from the arable soils above the catacombs that collects on the walls over time. Similar to stalactites and stalagmites in caves. I do not think it was potassium nitrate.

Best Regards,

-- Anonymous, October 14, 2000

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