Poe's Stories

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Narrator (The Cask of Amontillado) Character Analysis

A man with a vendetta against Fortunato because of an unexplained wrong Fortunato committed against him long ago. The narrator goes to great lengths of manipulation to secure his revenge, showing cunning and intelligence. But the undescribed original wrong, and the narrator's frantic effort to get Fortunato to react in some way as he walls him into a living tomb, raises questions about the narrator's motives, and whether there was even an original wrong in the first place.

Narrator (The Cask of Amontillado) Quotes in Poe's Stories

The Poe's Stories quotes below are all either spoken by Narrator (The Cask of Amontillado) or refer to Narrator (The Cask of Amontillado). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Poe's Stories published in 2006.
The Cask of Amontillado Quotes

I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.

Related Characters: Narrator (The Cask of Amontillado) (speaker), Fortunato
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:

In the final story in the book, a narrator prepares to enact his revenge upon Fortunato. The narrator is obsessed with obtaining revenge upon those who humiliate him in some way (though we're never told how, exactly, Fortunato humiliated the narrator, making us wonder if the narrator is just a sadist or a madman). And yet the narrator also makes it clear that he doesn't want revenge to "overtake" him--he just wants to get even with Fortunato and then move on with his life. At the same time, he wants Fortunato to thoroughly realize that the narrator is taking revenge on him--no accidents or sudden deaths.

Revenge, in short, is a kind of balance between becoming too obsessed with getting even, and not being obsessed enough. It's odd that the narrator describes revenge as a form of moderation, since there's absolutely nothing moderate about the revenge that the narrator enacts upon Fortunato (he buries the poor guy alive).

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Narrator (The Cask of Amontillado) Character Timeline in Poe's Stories

The timeline below shows where the character Narrator (The Cask of Amontillado) appears in Poe's Stories. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Cask of Amontillado
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
The narrator of "Amontillado" begins by telling us about his friend, Fortunato, who had ‘injured’ him many times over... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
...show up foreigners, but Fortunato’s appreciation for Italian vintages is sincere. This is an interest the narrator of "Amontillado" shares. And suitably, it was in a drunken state that Fortunato appeared to the narrator,... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
The narrator of "Amontillado" is very excited to see him and tells him about a predicament he has with... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
The narrator of "Amontillado" tells him not to worry, that he is going to visit another expert, Luchesi, and... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
They arrive at the narrator’s house, which is empty of servants, as the narrator of "Amontillado" had expected. He had told them to stay in the house, but he had said... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
The narrator of "Amontillado" suggests they drink some Medoc to protect them from the elements. Fortunato proposes a toast... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
The narrator of "Amontillado" describes how the nitre is increasing as they go further in. They are now under... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
The narrator of "Amontillado" mentions Luchesi again, but Fortunato is determined to go ahead. He disappears with his torch... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The narrator of "Amontillado" now goes to the pile of bones and digs about until he finds some building... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
At midnight, the narrator of "Amontillado" has almost finished the wall. There is just one brick to place, but as he... (full context)