The motivation for the behaviour : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

How does Poe reveal the motivation for the behaviour of montresor? Does the story provide any hints as to the thousand injuries he has suffered?

-- Anonymous, March 11, 2002



In the first lines of the story, the narrator merely suggests that the principal stimuli behind Montresor's act of pre-meditated murder is a series injuries culminating in some unforgivable insult, of such a personal and egregious nature, that honor cannot allow it to go unanswered. Further, we are given to believe through inference that the transgression is so patently offensive that an honorable resolution is impossible and undeserved.

It is Montresor, himself, and not any code of honor that determines the means by which the offender will be held accountable and he has chosen a form of retribution that must meet very specific criteria. First, that retribution must be fulfilled in a manner that does not hold the avenger, Montresor, accountable. Second, that the offender, Fortunato, must die with an awareness of the avenger and his intent.

It is only later in the tale that we are told of the Montresor family crest and motto, "Nemo me impune lacessit", 'No one offends me with impunity.' The implication of this revelation suggests that the narrator is compelled by a duty to family honor to seek accountability and not as a result of any personal enmity toward Fortunato. As for the nature of the thousand injuries or the gravity of the insult committed by Fortunato that provoked such a daring and deceptive revenge, we are given no clues whatsoever. We are, therefore, left to our own moral sense of justice to summon up an outrage of sufficient magnitude to warrant a similar level of revenge.

What would do it for you, Anh? What outrage would push you over the precipice of honorable resolution and cause you to seek a similar level of accountability?

Best Regards,

-- Anonymous, March 16, 2002

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