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Themes

In “The Cask of Amontillado” foolishness and folly can cost you your life. The story amplifies human foolishness and folly to extremes so hideous and cruel they become vices. ”The Cask” only has two characters. By the end of the story, their combined silliness culminates in tragedy and pain for them both. The tragedy is what makes us think more profoundly about their foolish ways – in the hopes that we can avoid ending up, even in some metaphorical way, like them.

Questions About Foolishness and Folly

  1. Is Montresor a foolish character? If so, how? If not, why?
  2. Does Montresor make mistakes? If so, what are they?
  3. Montresor tells us that Fortunato’s one weakness is arrogance about his knowledge of wine. It’s this flaw that makes Fortunato vulnerable to Montresor’s Amontillado strategy. What other possible weaknesses in Fortunato’s character lead to his death? If you had to choose his biggest flaw, which would you choose, and why?
  4. Fortunato is dressed like a fool, or a court jester. Is he simply a fool, or are there some aspects of his personality that contrast with his fool’s image?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Montresor is the real fool in the story.

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