a perfect crime

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do you think amontillado commited the perfect crime as stated in the first paragraph of the cast of amontillando or do you think he dosen't have impunity?

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2001



Actually, the narrator's name is Montresor but to answer your question, yes, it was a perfect crime. At least from the perspective of the narrator as told in the tale and my preference in its interpretation. However, since there are variations to the interpretation of this story, while one point of view may result in an affirmative answer, another may render the negative.

Basically, it all boils down to the first and final paragraphs. In the first paragraph, Montresor establishes the standards for his revenge that preclude any element of risk. First, he must seek a form of retribution that would not hold him accused or accountable. Secondly, he must not be consumed by his revenge and thirdly, his victim must meet his fate fully conscious of the identity of the avenger. In the final paragraph, Montresor says, "For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!" This Latin phrase simply means 'In peaceful repose' or 'rest in peace.' But, for whom is the phrase intended, Fortunato or Montresor himself?

Now, clearly, the interpretation here is dependent upon the reader. One interpretation leans to the view that for fifty years, Fortunato has been entombed without being disturbed by mortal man. Why Poe makes this distinction is up to the individual reader and there are some that feel the Latin phrase is directed to Montresor who has just completed a "death bed" confession, perhaps, to his priest before absolution. In this interpretation, Montresor may not answer to justice for his crime but must confess his sin before God for final judgment. This judgment violates his standard of impunity, even when forgiven by his priest and his God. Therefore, I suppose, it would not be the perfect crime because he was, ultimately, held accountable.

In contrast, the story can also be read and understood to mean that Montresor is simply relating the story to a confidant or his progeny, perhaps for the sake of passing on a sense of family honor and history. It may be that he is on his death bed and wishes to simply boast of his successfully executed perfect crime to his son. A confession, of sorts, by Montresor to his son would not violate his impunity standards and would allow him his own eternal and "peaceful repose."

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2001

As Les Daniels pointed out in his book "Living in Fear," the story itself is a confession, given by a man who is still reliving his crime 50 years later. I think Monteresor paid for this murder in a far sublter way than any punishment the law could have inflicted.

-- Anonymous, October 05, 2003

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