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The Necklace

by Guy de Maupassant

The girl was one of those pretty and charming young creatures who sometimes are born, as if by
a slip of fate, into a family of clerks. She had no dowry, no expectations, no way of being known,
understood, loved, married by any rich and distinguished man; so she let herself be married to a
little clerk of the Ministry of Public Instruction.
She dressed plainly because she could not dress well, but she was unhappy as if she had really
fallen from a higher station; since with women there is neither caste nor rank, for beauty, grace
and charm take the place of family and birth. Natural ingenuity, instinct for what is elegant, a
supple mind are their sole hierarchy, and often make of women of the people the equals of the
very greatest ladies.
Mathilde suffered ceaselessly, feeling herself born to enjoy all delicacies and all luxuries. She
was distressed at the poverty of her dwelling, at the bareness of the walls, at the shabby chairs,
the ugliness of the curtains. All those things, of which another woman of her rank would never
even have been conscious, tortured her and made her angry. The sight of the little Breton peasant
who did her humble housework aroused in her despairing regrets and bewildering dreams. She
thought of silent antechambers hung with Oriental tapestry, illumined by tall bronze candelabra,
and of two great footmen in knee breeches who sleep in the big armchairs, made drowsy by the
oppressive heat of the stove. She thought of long reception halls hung with ancient silk, of the
dainty cabinets containing priceless curiosities and of the little coquettish perfumed reception
rooms made for chatting at five o'clock with intimate friends, with men famous and sought after,
whom all women envy and whose attention they all desire.
When she sat down to dinner, before the round table covered with a tablecloth in use three days,
opposite her husband, who uncovered the soup tureen and declared with a delighted air, "Ah, the
good soup! I don't know anything better than that," she thought of dainty dinners, of shining
silverware, of tapestry that peopled the walls with ancient personages and with strange birds
flying in the midst of a fairy forest; and she thought of delicious dishes served on marvellous
plates and of the whispered gallantries to which you listen with a sphinxlike smile while you are
eating the pink meat of a trout or the wings of a quail.
She had no gowns, no jewels, nothing. And she loved nothing but that. She felt made for that.
She would have liked so much to please, to be envied, to be charming, to be sought after.
She had a friend, a former schoolmate at the convent, who was rich, and whom she did not like
to go to see any more because she felt so sad when she came home.
But one evening her husband reached home with a triumphant air and holding a large envelope in
his hand.

"There," said he, "there is something for you."
She tore the paper quickly and drew out a printed card which bore these words:

The Minister of Public Instruction and Madame Georges Ramponneau request the honor of M. and
Madame Loisel's company at the palace of the Ministry on Monday evening, January 18th.

Instead of being delighted, as her husband had hoped, she threw the invitation on the table
crossly, muttering:
"What do you wish me to do with that?"
"Why, my dear, I thought you would be glad. You never go out, and this is such a fine
opportunity. I had great trouble to get it. Every one wants to go; it is very select, and they are not
giving many invitations to clerks. The whole official world will be there."
She looked at him with an irritated glance and said impatiently:
"And what do you wish me to put on my back?"
He had not thought of that. He stammered:
"Why, the gown you go to the theatre in. It looks very well to me."
He stopped, distracted, seeing that his wife was weeping. Two great tears ran slowly from the
corners of her eyes toward the corners of her mouth.
"What's the matter? What's the matter?" he answered.
By a violent effort she conquered her grief and replied in a calm voice, while she wiped her wet
"Nothing. Only I have no gown, and, therefore, I can't go to this ball. Give your card to some
colleague whose wife is better equipped than I am."
He was in despair. He resumed:
"Come, let us see, Mathilde. How much would it cost, a suitable gown, which you could use on
other occasions--something very simple?"

She reflected several seconds, making her calculations and wondering also what sum she could
ask without drawing on herself an immediate refusal and a frightened exclamation from the
economical clerk.
Finally she replied hesitating:
"I don't know exactly, but I think I could manage it with four hundred francs."
He grew a little pale, because he was laying aside just that amount to buy a gun and treat himself
to a little shooting next summer on the plain of Nanterre, with several friends who went to shoot
larks there of a Sunday.
But he said:
"Very well. I will give you four hundred francs. And try to have a pretty gown."
The day of the ball drew near and Madame Loisel seemed sad, uneasy, anxious. Her frock was
ready, however. Her husband said to her one evening:
"What is the matter? Come, you have seemed very queer these last three days."
And she answered:
"It annoys me not to have a single piece of jewelry, not a single ornament, nothing to put on. I
shall look poverty-stricken. I would almost rather not go at all."
"You might wear natural flowers," said her husband. "They're very stylish at this time of year.
For ten francs you can get two or three magnificent roses."
She was not convinced.
"No; there's nothing more humiliating than to look poor among other women who are rich."
"How stupid you are!" her husband cried. "Go look up your friend, Madame Forestier, and ask
her to lend you some jewels. You're intimate enough with her to do that."
She uttered a cry of joy:
"True! I never thought of it."
The next day she went to her friend and told her of her distress.
Madame Forestier went to a wardrobe with a mirror, took out a large jewel box, brought it back,
opened it and said to Madame Loisel:
"Choose, my dear."

certainly. the modest wraps of common life. outside her high-necked waist. yes. to give them back. intoxicated by pleasure. smiling and wild with joy. who were enveloping themselves in costly furs. He threw over her shoulders the wraps he had brought. a superb diamond necklace. I will call a cab. the poverty of which contrasted with the elegance of the ball dress. She tried on the ornaments before the mirror." Suddenly she discovered. She felt this and wished to escape so as not to be remarked by the other women. The night of the ball arrived. Look further. and her heart throbbed with an immoderate desire. graceful. You will catch cold outside. in a sort of cloud of happiness comprised of all this homage. Then she asked. She kept asking: "Haven't you any more?" "Why. these awakened desires and of that sense of triumph which is so sweet to woman's heart. in a black satin box. hesitated and could not make up her mind to part with them. She left the ball about four o'clock in the morning. admiration. of admirable workmanship. hesitating. with passion." But she did not listen to him and rapidly descended the stairs. She was prettier than any other woman present. Madame Loisel was a great success. then a pearl necklace. When they reached the street they could not find a carriage and began to look for one. then a Venetian gold cross set with precious stones. yes. All the attaches of the Cabinet wished to waltz with her. All the men looked at her. She danced with rapture. She fastened it round her throat. elegant. sought to be introduced. Loisel held her back." She threw her arms round her friend's neck. Her hands trembled as she took it. She was remarked by the minister himself. Her husband had been sleeping since midnight in a little deserted anteroom with three other gentlemen whose wives were enjoying the ball. kissed her passionately.She saw first some bracelets. forgetting all in the triumph of her beauty. only this?" "Why. filled with anxious doubt: "Will you lend me this. then fled with her treasure. shouting after the cabmen passing at a distance. . I don't know what you like. asked her name. in the glory of her success. saying: "Wait a bit. and was lost in ecstasy at her reflection in the mirror.

At last they found on the quay one of those ancient night cabs which. he reflected that he must be at the ministry at ten o'clock that morning. already half undressed. "I have--I have--I've lost Madame Forestier's necklace. in her pockets. as though they were ashamed to show their shabbiness during the day." said he. "Yes. He stood up. everywhere." she cried. She turned distractedly toward him. She removed her wraps before the glass so as to see herself once more in all her glory. It took them to their dwelling in the Rue des Martyrs. "You're sure you had it on when you left the ball?" he asked. I felt it in the vestibule of the minister's house. to see whether I can find it.They went toward the Seine in despair. As to him. are never seen round Paris until after dark. It must be in the cab. But suddenly she uttered a cry. bewildered. of her cloak. Her husband returned about seven o'clock." They looked." "Yes. shivering with cold. She sat waiting on a chair in her ball dress." He went out. And you--didn't you notice it?" "No. probably. "What!--how? Impossible!" They looked among the folds of her skirt. thunderstruck. She no longer had the necklace around her neck! "What is the matter with you?" demanded her husband. Did you take his number?" "No. without strength to go to bed. He had found nothing. At last Loisel put on his clothes. without any fire. without a thought. "I shall go back on foot. "over the whole route. . All was ended for her. and sadly they mounted the stairs to their flat. but did not find it. at each other. overwhelmed." "But if you had lost it in the street we should have heard it fall.

both sick with chagrin and grief. He gave notes. So they begged the jeweler not to sell it for three days yet." . a string of diamonds that seemed to them exactly like the one they had lost. to the newspaper offices to offer a reward. and. He did borrow. It was worth forty thousand francs. laying upon the jeweler's counter thirty-six thousand francs. frightened by the trouble yet to come. asking a thousand francs of one. "that you have broken the clasp of her necklace and that you are having it mended. When Madame Loisel took back the necklace Madame Forestier said to her with a chilly manner: "You should have returned it sooner. They found. risked signing a note without even knowing whether he could meet it. He would borrow the rest. whither he was urged by the least spark of hope." The next day they took the box that had contained it and went to the jeweler whose name was found within. who had aged five years." Then they went from jeweler to jeweler. searching for a necklace like the other. That will give us time to turn round. declared: "We must consider how to replace that ornament. At the end of a week they had lost all hope. five hundred of another." said he. by the prospect of all the physical privations and moral tortures that he was to suffer. He had discovered nothing. in fact. He compromised all the rest of his life. in case they should find the lost necklace before the end of February. who sold that necklace. five louis here. he went to get the new necklace. by the black misery that was about to fall upon him. He consulted his books. trying to recall it. in a shop at the Palais Royal. She waited all day. "You must write to your friend. he went to the cab companies--everywhere.He went to police headquarters. madame. I must simply have furnished the case. dealt with usurers and all the race of lenders. "It was not I. took up ruinous obligations. Loisel returned at night with a hollow. pale face. in the same condition of mad fear before this terrible calamity." She wrote at his dictation. They could have it for thirty-six. Loisel possessed eighteen thousand francs which his father had left him. And they made a bargain that he should buy it back for thirty-four thousand francs. Loisel. I might have needed it. three louis there.

Every month they had to meet some notes. what would she have thought. renew others. what would she have said? Would she not have taken Madame Loisel for a thief? Thereafter Madame Loisel knew the horrible existence of the needy. the shirts and the dishcloths. they rented a garret under the roof. She washed the soiled linen. It was Madame Forestier. which she dried upon a line. Her husband worked evenings. still beautiful. She bore her part. obtain more time. meeting with impertinence. as her friend had so much feared. What would have happened if she had not lost that necklace? Who knows? who knows? How strange and changeful is life! How small a thing is needed to make or ruin us! But one Sunday. having gone to take a walk in the Champs Elysees to refresh herself after the labors of the week. she sat down near the window and she thought of that gay evening of long ago. "Good-day. Madame Loisel looked old now. the butcher. with sudden heroism. certainly. And now that she had paid. still charming. They dismissed their servant. skirts askew and red hands. they changed their lodgings. a basket on her arm. This life lasted ten years. of that ball where she had been so beautiful and so admired." . She came to know what heavy housework meant and the odious cares of the kitchen. she carried the slops down to the street every morning and carried up the water. Jeanne. everything. she went to the fruiterer. making up a tradesman's accounts. Madame Loisel felt moved. however. and late at night he often copied manuscript for five sous a page. with the rates of usury and the accumulations of the compound interest. bargaining. She washed the dishes. she talked loud while washing the floor with great swishes of water. If she had detected the substitution.She did not open the case. sou by sou. She would pay it. she suddenly perceived a woman who was leading a child. stopping for breath at every landing. But sometimes. She had become the woman of impoverished households-strong and hard and rough. That dreadful debt must be paid. Should she speak to her? Yes. With frowsy hair. defending her miserable money. And dressed like a woman of the people. when her husband was at the office. she would tell her all about it. using her dainty fingers and rosy nails on greasy pots and pans. the grocer. still young. At the end of ten years they had paid everything. Why not? She went up.

"You say that you bought a necklace of diamonds to replace mine?" "Yes." Her friend uttered a cry." "What do you mean? You brought it back. And it has taken us ten years to pay for it. did not recognize her at all and stammered: "But--madame!--I do not know---. my necklace was paste! It was worth at most only five hundred francs!" The Necklace was featured as The Short Story of the Day on Tue. You can understand that it was not easy for us. 2015 In the final sentence." Madame Forestier had stopped. I am Mathilde Loisel. took her hands. At last it is ended." I chose to use this translation here because it is the version that inspired Henry James' short story Paste . I have had a pretty hard life. You never noticed it. an imitation. then! They were very similar.The other. "Oh. Well?" "Well. my poor Mathilde! How you are changed!" "Yes." And she smiled with a joy that was at once proud and ingenuous. Mar 17. for us who had nothing. deeply moved. astonished to be familiarly addressed by this plain good-wife. Alternate translations use the word "immitation" rather than "paste. and I am very glad. since I last saw you. Madame Forestier. I lost it. and great poverty--and that because of you!" "Of me! How so?" "Do you remember that diamond necklace you lent me to wear at the ministerial ball?" "Yes. the word "paste" means that the loaned necklace was a fake. "Oh. my poor Mathilde! Why." "I brought you back another exactly like it.You must have mistaken." "No.

Matre Hauchecome of Breaute had just arrived at Goderville. raised the left shoulder and swerved the figure. both being good haters. the tall hats. picking a bit of string out of the dirt. the latter holding onto the sides to lessen the hard jolts. human and animal. the whole body bent forward at each movement of their long twisted legs. puffed about their bony bodies. thought that everything useful ought to be picked up. They carried large baskets on their arms from which. He took the bit of thin cord from the ground and began to roll it carefully when he noticed Matre Malandain. Their blouses. Matre Hauchecome. shrill. walking behind the animal. seemed like balloons ready to carry them off. Then a wagon passed at the jerky trot of a nag. and he was directing his steps toward the public square when he perceived upon the ground a little piece of string. looking at him. And the clamorous. and they were on bad terms. on the threshold of his door. in some cases. and their heads were enveloped in a white cloth glued to the hair and surmounted by a cap. then in his trousers' pocket. economical like a true Norman. ornamented with a little design in white at the neck and wrists. at the same time.A Piece of String by Guy de Maupassant ALONG ALL THE ROADS around Goderville the peasants and their wives were coming toward the burgh because it was market day. "stiff-starched. chickens and. of the rich peasant and the headgear of the peasant women rose above the surface of the assembly. And they walked with a quicker. shaking strangely. deformed by their hard work. From each of them two feet protruded. for he suffered from rheumatism. hay and sweat. then he pretended . blue. giving forth that unpleasant odor. All that smacked of the stable. They had heretofore had business together on the subject of a halter. in others." shining as if varnished. by the reaping of the wheat which made the knees spread to make a firm "purchase. and their wives. the harness maker. The men were proceeding with slow steps. a throng of human beings and animals mixed together. Matre Hauchecome was seized with a sort of shame to be seen thus by his enemy. the dairy and the dirt heap. peculiar to the people of the field. ducks thrust out their heads. Some led a cow or a calf by a cord. and he bent painfully. whipped its haunches with a leafy branch to hasten its progress. with long nap. The horns of the cattle." by all the slow and painful labors of the country. He concealed his "find" quickly under his blouse. two men seated side by side and a woman in the bottom of the vehicle. livelier step than their husbands. screaming voices made a continuous and savage din which sometimes was dominated by the robust lungs of some countryman's laugh or the long lowing of a cow tied to the wall of a house. In the public square of Goderville there was a crowd. Their spare straight figures were wrapped in a scanty little shawl pinned over their flat bosoms. by the weight on the plow which.

raising their shafts to the sky like two arms or perhaps with their shafts in the ground and their backs in the air. The women. cast a lively heat on the backs of the row on the right. that there was lost this morning on the road to Benzeville. and an appetizing odor of roast beef and gravy dripping over the nicely browned skin rose from the hearth. He was soon lost in the noisy and slowly moving crowd which was busy with interminable bargainings. tied together by the feet. The peasants milked. not daring to decide. suddenly deciding on some proposed reduction. gigs. there will be twenty francs reward. I'll give it to you for that. carts. a black leather pocketbook containing five hundred francs and some business papers. increased the jovialness and made everybody's mouth water. and he went toward the market. speaking his phrases irregularly: "It is hereby made known to the inhabitants of Goderville. ever trying to find the trick in the man and the flaw in the beast. At Jourdain's the great room was full of people eating. Just opposite the diners seated at the table the immense fireplace. wagons. tavern keeper and horse dealer. with terrified eyes and scarlet crests. After the public crier had ceased his drumbeating he called out in a jerky voice. between nine and ten o'clock. They heard offers. always in fear of being cheated. pigeons and legs of mutton. or perhaps. Three spits were turning on which were chickens. They discussed the crops. his purchases and sales. went and came. stated their prices with a dry air and impassive face. The weather was favorable for the green things but not for the wheat. The finder is requested to return same with all haste to the mayor's office or to Matre Fortune Houlbreque of Manneville. mended and be still looking on the ground for something which he did not find. Suddenly the drum beat in the court before the house. perplexed. and ran to the door or to the windows. All the aristocracy of the plow ate there at Matre Jourdain's. and in general to all persons present at the market. Matre Authirne. filled with bright flames. their mouths still full and napkins in their hands. dumpcarts. bent double by his pains." . as were the jugs of yellow cider. as the big court was full of vehicles of all kinds." Then lime by lime the square was deserted. watching the vender's eye. having placed their great baskets at their feet. a rascal who had money. Everybody rose. The dishes were passed and emptied. yellow with dirt. and the Angelus ringing at noon. those who had stayed too long scattered to their shops. shouted to the customer who was slowly going away: "All right. had taken out the poultry which lay upon the ground. except a few indifferent persons. his head forward. Everyone told his affairs.

looked at the mayor. And the meal concluded." And the officer resumed: "Matre Hauchecome." "But you were seen. the harness maker. "you were seen this morning to pick up. They were finishing their coffee when a chief of the gendarmes appeared upon the threshold. "Matre Hauchecome." said he.Then the man went away. The heavy roll of the drum and the crier's voice were again heard at a distance. repeating: "Here I am." The mayor was awaiting him. rose and. even more bent than in the morning. already terrified by this suspicion resting on him without his knowing why." . will you have the goodness to accompany me to the mayor's office? The mayor would like to talk to you. the pocketbook lost by Matre Houlbreque of Manneville. you yourself." "I was seen." The peasant. astounded. I never heard of it. He was the notary of the vicinity." "Word of honor. me? Who says he saw me?" "Monsieur Malandain. Then they began to talk of this event. for the first steps after each rest were specially difficult. a stout. replied: "Here I am. here I am. surprised and disturbed. set out. seated on an armchair. serious man with pompous phrases. discussing the chances that Matre Houlbreque had of finding or not finding his pocketbook. He inquired: "Is Matre Hauchecome of Breaute here?" Matre Hauchecome. "Me? Me? Me pick up the pocketbook?" "Yes." The countryman. seated at the other end of the table. swallowed at a draught his tiny glass of brandy. on the road to Benzeville.

nobody believed him. the sacred truth. furious." The mayor resumed: "After picking up the object you stood like a stilt. who is a man worthy of credence. "How anyone can tell--how anyone can tell--such lies to take away an honest man's reputation! How can anyone---" There was no use in his protesting. They abused each other for an hour. But the mayor. No one believed him. M'sieu the Mayor. hot and distressed at not ." And rummaging in his pocket. understood and flushed with anger. who repeated and maintained his affirmation. nothing was found on him. shook his head. he saw me pick up this string here. The news had spread. I repeat it on my soul and my salvation." The good old man choked with indignation and fear. "Ah." The peasant. He went along. get out!" And he grew angry. beginning endlessly his statement and his protestations. fronted with Monsieur Malandain. spat at one side to attest his honor. he drew out the little piece of string. Finally the mayor. He began to tell the story of the string. the clodhopper. he saw me. stopping his friends. He was con. incredulous. mistook this cord for a pocketbook. showing his pockets turned inside out to prove that he had nothing. very much perplexed.The old man remembered. that Monsieur Malandain. repeating: "It is nevertheless the truth of the good God. looking a long while in the mud to see if any piece of money had fallen out. As he left the mayor's office the old man was sun rounded and questioned with a serious or bantering curiosity in which there was no indignation. becoming exasperated. "You will not make me believe. Matre Hauchecome. discharged him with the warning that he would consult the public prosecutor and ask for further orders. They said: "Old rascal. M'sieu the Mayor. lifted his hand. They laughed at him. At his own request Matre Hauchecome was searched.

This man claimed to have found the object in the road. The next day about one o'clock in the afternoon Marius Paumelle. There is nothing so shameful as to be placed under a cloud on account of a lie. why was he called a big rascal? . He seemed to feel that remarks were being made behind his back. He must depart. began to laugh on seeing him pass. Why? He approached a farmer from Crequetot who did not let him finish and. He was calm now. a hired man in the employ of Matre Breton. He only met with incredulity. and yet something disturbed him without his knowing exactly what it was. urged solely by the necessity he felt of discussing the case. He stopped strangers to tell them about it. The news spread through the neighborhood. in the wineshop to people who were drinking there and to persons coming out of church the following Sunday. He started on his way with three neighbors to whom he pointed out the place where he had picked up the bit of string. In the evening he took a turn in the village of Breaute in order to tell it to everybody. Matre Hauchecome was confused.being believed. returned the pocketbook and its contents to Matre Houlbreque of Manneville. but not knowing how to read. Night came. He was in triumph. On Tuesday of the next week he went to the market at Goderville. They did not seem convinced. standing at his door. It made him ill at night. People had the air of joking while they listened." Then he turned his back on him. He immediately went the circuit and began to recount his story completed by the happy climax. and all along the road he spoke of his adventure. Matre Hauchecome was informed of it. said to his face: "You big rascal. not knowing what to do and always repeating himself. he told it on the highway to people who were passing by. giving him a thump in the stomach. husbandman at Ymanville. "What grieved me so much was not the thing itself as the lying." He talked of his adventure all day long. Malandain. he had carried it to the house and given it to his employer.

of doing what they had accused him of and ever boasting of it as of a good turn. more solemn oaths which he imagined and prepared in his hours of solitude. his whole mind given up to the story of the string. And he was stricken to the heart by the injustice of the suspicion. in a confused way." The peasant stood choking. touched to the depth. Then he began to recount the adventures again. come. He tried to protest. He died in the first days of January. At any rate you are mixed with it. more energetic protestations. Toward the end of December he took to his bed. by an accomplice. as his sharpness was known. was impossible to prove. reiterating: . I know all about your piece of string!" Hauchecome stammered: "But since the pocketbook was found. papa. His mind. consumed his heart over it and wore himself out with useless efforts. as they make a soldier who has been on a campaign tell about his battles. that's an old trick. choking with anger and confusion. He felt it. He understood.When he was seated at the table in Jourdain's tavern he commenced to explain "the affair. He wasted away before their very eyes. The wags now made him tell about the string to amuse them. the more dejected that he was capable. They accused him of having had the pocketbook returned by a confederate. adding each time new reasons. prolonging his history every day." they said behind his back. He was believed so much the less as his defense was more complicated and his arguing more subtile." A horse dealer from Monvilliers called to him: "Come. began to weaken." But the other man replied: "Shut up. "Those are lying excuses. He went home ashamed and indignant. with his Norman cunning. He could not finish his dinner and went away in the midst of jeers. and in the delirium of his death struggles he kept claiming his innocence. there is one that finds and there is one that reports. His innocence to him. old sharper. All the table began to laugh.

He defended . Get started by clicking the "Add" button. H e is much conscious with his reputation."A piece of string. I n the meanwhile his rival. The Summary of the Plot It is a market dy and everyone is busy. Add A Piece of String to your own personal library. It ’ s tone is Busy and pessimistic. and peasantry. This short story focuses on the subjects: THE PIECE OF STRING GUY DE MAUPASSANT A short story which was first established in 1883. https://americanliterature. Society. The point of view given by the author is in the 3rd person limited perspective. Hauch ecornewas accused of the robbery of the wallet and was sent to the mayor ’ s office. Maitre Malandain portrays to be the antagonist. Maitre Malandain. T he protagonist of the story is Maitre Mauchecorne: the one who picked u p the string.4 Create a library and add your favorite https://americanliterature. a piece of string--look--here it is." 8. The square of Goderville is very crowded. M'sieu the Mayor. Maitre Hauchecorne saw a string and picked it up. It was clearly shown by Maupassant that the c onflict is on Man vs. greed. saw him.

In painting and gemmary. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine. Fortunato. Hauchecorne died in grief. this was a point definitely. For the most part their enthusiasm is adopted to suit the time and opportunity. who so well know the nature of my soul. Few Italians have the true virtuoso spirit. however. to practise imposture upon the British and Austrian millionaires. settled --but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. The people thought of Hauchecorne was just trying to trick them through an accomplic e. He had a weak point --this Fortunato --although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. will not suppose.himself although no one believed him. At length I would be avenged. 1883 near Dieppe in Normandy. It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will. like his countrymen. was a quack. but in the matter of old wines he was sincere. Author' s Background Henri Rene Albert Guy de Maupassant was known for his prompt and natural style in writing a short story. You. The near end of his life was erratic. but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. He was born on August 5. France THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO by Edgar Allan Poe (1846) THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could. He does no t the string have compassion on his characters. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. I continued. He was sent to a mental institution in Paris. and he did not perceive that my to smile now was at the thought of his immolation.The wallet was returned by another guy. I must not only punish but punish with impunity. He joined his mother when his parents were separated when he was 11. as was my in to smile in his face. In . It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong. that gave utterance to a threat.

" "Amontillado!" "I have my doubts. He will tell me --" "Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry. A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle of the carnival!" "I have my doubts.this respect I did not differ from him materially. "Amontillado. But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado. I perceive you have an engagement." . --come. and I have my doubts. "Come." "Amontillado!" "As you are engaged. and I was fearful of losing a bargain. He accosted me with excessive warmth." I replied. and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells . one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season. How remarkably well you are looking to-day. let us go. I am on my way to Luchresi. I was so pleased to see him that I thought I should never have done wringing his hand." "My friend. you are luckily met. and bought largely whenever I could. It was about dusk. --I was skilful in the Italian vintages myself. no." "How?" said he. If any one has a critical turn it is he." "Amontillado!" "And I must satisfy them." "And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own. "and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found. I will not impose upon your good nature. that I encountered my friend. for he had been drinking much." "Whither?" "To your vaults. The man wore motley. I said to him --"My dear Fortunato. Luchresi--" "I have no engagement. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress.

Besides." . "It is farther on. The vaults are insufferably damp. "How long have you had that cough?" "Ugh! ugh! ugh! --ugh! ugh! ugh! --ugh! ugh! ugh! --ugh! ugh! ugh! --ugh! ugh! ugh!" My poor friend found it impossible to reply for many minutes. they had absconded to make merry in honour of the time. but the severe cold with which I perceive you are afflicted. "Nitre. and looked into my eves with two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication. For me it is no matter. The gait of my friend was unsteady. and giving one to Fortunato. You are rich. There were no attendants at home. I passed down a long and winding staircase. beloved. I suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo. "It is nothing. Amontillado! You have been imposed upon."My friend. bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into the vaults. "the cough's a mere nothing. and putting on a mask of black silk and drawing a roquelaire closely about my person. there is Luchresi --" "Enough." He turned towards me. and I cannot be responsible." he said. one and all." said I. and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode. I well knew. and stood together upon the damp ground of the catacombs of the Montresors." I said. Fortunato possessed himself of my arm. you will be ill. to insure their immediate disappearance. requesting him to be cautious as he followed. And as for Luchresi. as soon as my back was turned." "Let us go." he said. It is not the engagement. I had told them that I should not return until the morning. "Come. as once I was. with decision. We will go back. These orders were sufficient. We came at length to the foot of the descent. you are happy. at length. The cold is merely nothing. "we will go back. it will not kill me. your health is precious." Thus speaking. You are a man to be missed. nevertheless. I shall not die of a cough. respected." I replied. "but observe the white web-work which gleams from these cavern walls. I took from their sconces two flambeaux. admired. "Nitre?" he asked. no. and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado. They are encrusted with nitre. "The pipe." he said. at last.

We had passed through long walls of piled skeletons." He again took my arm. He emptied it at a breath." I broke and reached him a flagon of De Grave. with casks and puncheons intermingling. "are extensive. "I drink." "The Montresors. My own fancy grew warm with the Medoc. "to the buried that repose around us. He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand." he said. The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled." he said. Come. and this time I made bold to seize Fortunato by an arm above the elbow. the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel. indeed. it increases." I replied. He paused and nodded to me familiarly."True --true." he said. I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily --but you should use all proper caution. Your cough --" "It is nothing. "These vaults. and we proceeded. "see." "And I to your long life. we will go back ere it is too late." "I forget your arms. "Drink." "And the motto?" "Nemo me impune lacessit." I replied. "and. another draught of the Medoc." "Good!" he said. His eyes flashed with a fierce light. He raised it to his lips with a leer. into the inmost recesses of the catacombs. It hangs like moss upon the vaults. in a field azure. "let us go on. "were a great and numerous family. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones. I paused again. . presenting him the wine. A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps. We are below the river's bed. Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row of its fellows that lay upon the mould." I said. "The nitre!" I said. But first. while his bells jingled." "A huge human foot d'or.

in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris." he exclaimed." he said. "a sign. in width three. and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite. while I followed immediately at his heels. we perceived a still interior crypt or recess. in depth about four feet. From the fourth side the bones had been thrown down. "You jest. "Proceed. "Then you are not of the brotherhood." "How?" "You are not of the masons. forming at one point a mound of some size. "A sign." I answered." "Be it so." "Yes. producing from beneath the folds of my roquelaire a trowel. Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones." I said. replacing the tool beneath the cloak and again offering him my arm. as he stepped unsteadily forward." "You? Impossible! A mason?" "A mason." interrupted my friend. piled to the vault overhead. passed on. "Not I." I replied. It was in vain that Fortunato. It seemed to have been constructed for no especial use within itself. endeavoured to pry into the depth of the recess. recoiling a few paces. "yes. yes. and descending again. and finding an instant he had reached the extremity of the . He leaned upon it heavily. Its walls had been lined with human remains. in height six or seven. "herein is the Amontillado. and lay promiscuously upon the earth." I replied. descended. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner." I said. We continued our route in search of the Amontillado. yes. As for Luchresi --" "He is an ignoramus. but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs. In niche. We passed through a range of low arches. He repeated the movement --a grotesque one. At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its termination the feeble light did not enable us to see.I looked at him in surprise. arrived at a deep crypt. "You do not comprehend?" he said. "But let us proceed to the Amontillado." I said. uplifting his dull torch. in which the foulness of the air caused our flambeaux rather to glow than flame." "It is this.

threw a few feeble rays upon the figure within. For a brief moment I hesitated. and my task was drawing to a close.niche. from the other a padlock. Once more let me implore you to return. I again paused. "the Amontillado. I replied to the yells of him who clamoured. I began vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche. you cannot help feeling the nitre. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs. I did this. Indeed. not yet recovered from his astonishment. The wall was now nearly upon a level with my breast. "over the wall. The noise lasted for several minutes." As I said these words I busied myself among the pile of bones of which I have before spoken. I ceased my labours and sat down upon the bones. I soon uncovered a quantity of building stone and mortar. and the third. I aided. but the thought of an instant reassured me. the ninth and the tenth tier. It was succeeded by a sad voice. The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning cry from the depth of the recess. It was not the cry of a drunken man. We will have many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo --he! he! he! --over our wine --he! he! he!" . and the seventh tier. Throwing the links about his waist. I re-echoed. I struggled with its weight. He was too much astounded to resist. the sixth. I trembled. Withdrawing the key I stepped back from the recess. A succession of loud and shrill screams. which I had difficulty in recognizing as that of the noble Fortunato. stood stupidly bewildered. and the fourth. and finding his progress arrested by the rock. during which. But I must first render you all the little attentions in my power." "The Amontillado!" ejaculated my friend. and finished without interruption the fifth. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh. I placed it partially in its destined position. A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite. it is very damp. I had completed the eighth. With these materials and with the aid of my trowel. When at last the clanking subsided. there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. and felt satisfied. From one of these depended a short chain. Unsheathing my rapier. and the clamourer grew still. No? Then I must positively leave you." I said. In its surface were two iron staples. I laid the second tier. I reapproached the wall. I resumed the trowel. horizontally. Throwing them aside. I had scarcely laid the first tier of the masonry when I discovered that the intoxication of Fortunato had in a great measure worn off. and then I heard the furious vibrations of the chain. I began to grope with it about the recess. it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it. I surpassed them in volume and in strength. seemed to thrust me violently back. indeed --an excellent jest. that I might hearken to it with the more satisfaction. bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form." I replied. It was now midnight. There was then a long and obstinate silence. The voice said-"Ha! ha! ha! --he! he! he! --a very good joke. "True. But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. and holding the flambeaux over the mason-work. distant from each other about two feet. "Pass your hand.

"The Amontillado!" I said. "for the love of God!" But to these words I hearkened in vain for a reply. it was the dampness of the catacombs that made it so." I said. the Lady Fortunato and the rest? Let us be gone. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within." "For the love of God." "Yes. Montresor!" "Yes. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells ." I said. I hastened to make an end of my labour. I called aloud -"Fortunato!" No answer. In pace requiescat! . I plastered it up. My heart grew sick. I called again -"Fortunato!" No answer still. I grew impatient. Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. "let us be gone. "He! he! he! --he! he! he! --yes. the Amontillado. I forced the last stone into its position. But is it not getting late? Will not they be awaiting us at the palazzo.

a time of “supreme madness. he will go instead to Luchesi.The Cask of Amontillado Summary Summary (Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories. have consulted Fortunato. already half-drunk and costumed as a jester. In the deepest crypt there is a small recess.” when Fortunato. one in which Fortunato will know fully what is happening to him and in which Montresor will be forever undetected. he says. who. Montresor seeks revenge on Fortunato for some unspecified insult by luring him down into his family vaults to inspect some wine he has purchased. whom he then leaves alone in the dark. Through underground corridors with piles of skeletons alternating with wine casks. with which he buries his enemy alive. Extended Summary 3. gave him a thousand injuries that he endured patiently. The latter is hooked. Montresor leads Fortunato. Montresor waits until carnival season. The victim is Fortunato. The plot is relatively simple. He should. for every detail in the story contributes to the overall ironic effect. all the while plying him with drink. he relishes the mental torment of his victim. Montresor baits him by saying that some fools argue that Luchesi’s taste is as fine as Fortunato’s. is particularly vulnerable. and Montresor conducts him to his empty palazzo and leads him down into the family catacombs. In . but when Fortunato dared insult him. Montresor then informs him that he has purchased a pipe of Amontillado wine but is not sure he has gotten the genuine article. and there Montresor chains Fortunato to a pair of iron staples and then begins to lay a wall of stone and mortar. Knowing his victim’s vanity. Montresor’s plot to maneuver Fortunato to where he can wall him up alive is anything but straightforward. Critical Edition) Told in the first person by an Italian aristocrat. Masterpieces of American Literature 2. To accomplish it. whose jester’s bells jingle grotesquely in the funereal atmosphere. While he does so. the narrator claims. who prides himself on being an expert on wine. However. It must be a perfect revenge. waiting in terror for his death. Insights The Cask of Amontillado Summary (Masterpieces of American Literature) “The Cask of Amontillado” is one of the clearest examples of Poe’s theory of the unity of the short story. “The Cask of Amontillado” engages the reader by making him or her a confidant to Montresor’s macabre tale of revenge. Overview 4. adding that because Fortunato is engaged. More Content: Summary (hide) 1. he vowed revenge.

the very fact that Montresor is telling the story of his crime some fifty years after it was committed to one who. although the story ends with the Latin phrase “rest in peace. even though Montresor gets his revenge. Furthermore. a sort of Mardi Gras when everyone is in masquerade and thus appearing as something they are not. The action takes place during carnival season.” even after fifty years Montresor . in fact. At the beginning. “True. although Montresor has tried to fulfill his two criteria for a successful revenge. true. Montresor makes much of the fact that there are two criteria for a successful revenge—that the avenger must punish without being punished in return and that he must make himself known as an avenger to the one who has done him the wrong. Thus. That Montresor’s crime against Fortunato has had its hold on him for the past fifty years is supported by another detail in the story. Moreover. his final confessor. then it is clear that. Montresor makes sure that his servants will not be at home to hinder his plot by giving them explicit orders not to leave. the serpent continues to hold on. every action and bit of dialogue is characterized as being just the opposite of what is explicitly stated. Moreover. and he makes sure that Fortunato will follow him into the wine cellar by playing on his pride and by urging him not to go. Every time Montresor urges Fortunato to turn back for his health’s sake. does Montresor tell Fortunato that he is walling him up to fulfill his need for revenge. Montresor knowingly replies. he says. When Fortunato makes a gesture indicating that he is a member of the secret society of Masons. “so well know[s] the nature of my soul.fact. is that. Montresor ironically drinks to Fortunato’s long life. The ultimate irony of the story then.” When Fortunato drinks a toast to the dead lying in the catacombs around them. whose fangs are embedded in the heel. he succeeds in drawing him further into the snares of his revenge plot. The irony of the story cuts much deeper than this. the fact that Montresor knows how his plot is going to end makes it possible for him to play little ironic tricks on Fortunato. Nowhere in the story. when Fortunato says he will not die of a cough. Montresor claims that he is also and proves it by revealing a trowel.” suggests that Montresor is now himself dying and confessing his crime to a priest. the accompanying motto translates as “No one harms me with impunity. although Montresor now tells the story as a final confession to save his soul. For example.” If the foot is a metonymic representation of Montresor crushing the metaphoric serpent Fortunato for his bite. the Montresor coat of arms—a huge human foot crushing a serpent. the sign of his plot to wall up Fortunato. the gleeful tone with which he tells it—a tone that suggests he is enjoying the telling of it in the present as much as he enjoyed committing the act in the past—means that it is not a good confession. from the very beginning. Fortunato seems to have no idea why he is being punished at all. Fortunato has fulfilled them better than he has. however. however.

either Fortunato or Luchesi. it is. for his gleeful confession of his story damns him to Hell for all eternity." which is a huge barrel containing 126 gallons. Poe does not attempt to deal with this plot problem. Fortunato's intoxication is partly intended for that same purpose. The wine must have been aged in the wooden and it is the overall design of the story that communicates its meaning—not some simple moral embedded within it or tacked on to the end. but he is not thinking straight. and the only way he could do that would be by having a simple spigot in each of the big barrels. and not just a "wine tasting room" for tourists. "How much did you pay for the wine?" or "Who did you buy it from?" or "Why didn't you bring a bottle upstairs so we could enjoy it without all this trouble?" The two men have to talk about something. so Poe makes up some chit-chat about the Masons and Montresor's coat of arms and others things to fill the void. in fact. The cough is intended to prevent the intended victim from asking a lot of embarrassing questions. Every detail in the story contributes to this central effect. Although “The Cask of Amontillado” seems on the surface a relatively simple revenge story. Inc. Aging Amontillado is a more complicated process than aging ordinary sherry. Fortunato does not ask any of the obvious questions. He shows that Fortunato is not only drunk but has a very bad cough and cold. Wine Tasting How does Fortunato expect to taste the Amontillado that Montresor claims to have stored in his underground vaults? Both men refer to the cask as a "pipe. There would have had to be a spigot in one round end of the barrel. . A pipe containing 126 gallons must be the biggest barrel in a winery. Anyone who has visited a real winery. If he really wanted somebody. The Spanish vintner would have wanted to monitor the aging process. From the time Montresor encounters Fortunato on the street to the time he chains him to the rock wall inside the niche. to judge his wine. then why wouldn't he have filled a bottle and brought it upstairs where it could be drunk in comfort in his living room? In fact.will not be able to rest in peace. He is a clever man. and the wine would have had to be aged right in that barrel. will have seen many such pipes. why wouldn't he have brought several bottles upstairs so that he could reward the connoisseur who judged his wine? The Amontillado would not have been aged in a different barrel and then transferred to the one in which it supposedly arrived in Venice. There would be a spigot at the bottom of the round end of the barrel by which the vintner could draw off a small glass of the wine from time to time in order to test it. a highly complex story riddled with ironic reversals. The Cask of Amontillado Extended Summary Published by eNotes.William Delaney. The pipe would be on its side and slightly tilted forward. . If Montresor really had such a pipe of Amontillado he would have tasted it himself. such as.

Montresor says they will go back. which is "Nemo me impune lacessit. Fortunato. thereby playing upon both Fortunato's pride and greed.." Nearing midnight. taunting him with all the opportunities he had allowed for Fortunato to back out. Fortunato comes to his senses and begins to moan and test the chains. he still wants to see the Amontillado. Fortunato is dressed like a jester. then continues boarding up the crypt. who knows the "nature of my soul. steps into a small interior recess. When there is only one more stone to be added. He raises the torch to look inside. ." to which Montresor replies. Although Fortunato seems to be confused. which are lined with nitre and cause Fortunato to cough. Montresor exploits Fortunato's interest in wine. Fortunato is very glad to see him." He explains that he had borne "the thousand injuries of Fortunato. Montresor. Montresor says he will ask another because Fortunato is busy. Fortunato begins to laugh. is unreliable and is attempting to explain his actions of 50 years before. when they meet in the street during carnival. louder than Fortunato. Montresor is shocked. afraid Fortunato's screams will be heard. where the servants have all gone to enjoy the festivities. claiming. Fortunato agrees to accompany Montresor home. "the clamourer grew still. in shock. After this. can't comprehend what is happening as Montresor uses the trowel and stone and mortar buried under the pile of bones to wall up the crypt. Fortunato asks him for a sign he is of the masons. and Montresor produces a trowel from his cloak.." They also consume more wine. But reassuring himself of the solid walls of the catacombs." While they walk deeper into the catacombs."The Cask of Amontillado" was first published in 1846. The story begins with Montresor addressing someone familiar. "I shall not die of a cough. looking for the cask. First. and has been drinking. and unsheathes his sword. Instead of asking Fortunato directly to examine the Amontillado. there is a room lined with bones. with a pile of bones on one side. and Montresor quickly chains him to the wall. Montresor does not understand. Montresor describes his family's coat of arms and motto." or "No one insults me with impunity. Fortunato." but finally Fortunato went too far. Fortunato does not suspect Montresor's plan. he tempts Fortunato by claiming he has purchased a cask of Amontillado. and Fortunato begins screaming. and says in a sad voice that he has enjoyed. Montresor is nearly finished the wall. "True—true. which is a dry sherry. The first-person narrator. Montresor waits until Fortunato stops shaking the chains. In fact. Montresor grabs two torches and leads the way into the family catacombs. but he is unsure if its authentic. Throughout the story. At the end of the crypt. and they continue deeper into the tombs. but Fortunato wants to see the Amontillado. When Fortunato makes a secret sign of the masons. and he devised a plan for revenge. he also begins to yell.

Earlier. one evening during carnival time. However. Montresor complied while wrapping himself in a cloak to make sure that he would not be recognized. Montresor had been planning this revenge for a long time and. we. it is short and can be read at one sitting. it abounds in ironies of many kinds. whom we later discover to be named Montresor. Fortunato was determined to taste the wine and insisted on being taken to Montresor's home. in fact. of fine wines. had chosen carnival time as the setting for this most horrible type of crime. The plot is quite simple. at the end of the story. using the excuse of the carnival. ironically. it conforms to and illustrates perfectly many of Poe's literary theories about the nature of the short story: that is. even pretending that his vaults where the wine was stored had too much dampness and "nitre" for Fortunato's afffiction. Apparently. The first-person narrator. in this way he would avoid arousing Fortunato's suspicions and would also prevent anyone from witnessing the atrocity he planned to commit. . he had let all of the servants off for the night. a time when much frivolity and celebration would be taking place. are certain that his atrocity will never be discovered. Montresor set his fiendish. it is a completely unified work and while it is seemingly simple. Foremost is the fact that Montresor has never let Fortunato know of his hatred. Finally. announces immediately that someone named Fortunato has injured him repeatedly and has recently insulted him. Furthermore. Accordingly. he was sure he would avoid any possibility of being detected. it has often been considered to be one of the world's most perfect short stories. The remainder of the story deals with Montresor's methods of entrapping Fortunato and effecting his revenge upon the unfortunate Fortunato. or connoisseur. In fact. it is a mood piece with every sentence contributing to the total effect. he vows revenge upon Fortunato. every line and comment contributes to the totality or unity of effect that Poe sought to achieve. Amid the gaiety of the carnival. and especially a devotee of a sherry known as Amontillado. mad plan into motion with full confidence that he would never be discovered. He tantalized Fortunato with the rare liquor. Montresor flattered him by obsequiously asking his opinion on a newly acquired cask of Amontillado.Summary "The Cask of Amontillado" has been almost universally referred to as Poe's most perfect short story. the readers. Montresor can stand no more. Knowing that Fortunato considered himself a great expert.

stone masons. This is. a time which will ironically end soon with the living death of the unfortunate Fortunato.). thus flinging Montresor another insult and. but it is one of the emblems of the Masonic Order. At this point. Montresor paused and offered Fortunato a bottle of Medoc wine to help ward off the cold and the fumes of the nitre. Fortunato walked unsteadily and the "bells upon his cap jingled" as they descended." Fortunato toasted Montresor's buried ancestors. a double irony since the trowel is not only an instrument used by real masons (bricklayers. we discover that there are numerous catacombs of long deceased relatives. it will he seen that Montresor is indeed a superb mason. bringing himself closer to his living death. however. alongside the relatives of a man who hates him with an unbelievable intensity. both the motto and the coat of arms imply that the entire Montresor family history is filled with acts of revenge. At one point. in a field azure. the cold and the nitre fumes increased. As the two men proceeded further along the tunnels." When Fortunato noted how extensive the vaults were. of course. Fortunato was sure that Montresor didn't understand the gesture because it belonged to the secret order of the masons — an order that Fortunato was certain that Montresor couldn't belong to. but he was drunkenly determined to continue. or . This seemingly kind act. etc. Montresor told him that he heard that the Montresors "were a great and numerous family. At one of the catacombs. and Fortunato asked for another drink. and Montresor returned the toast to Fortunato's "long life. He states that his family's coat of arms has on it "a huge human foot d'or [foot of gold].As they descended into the vaults. the nitre caused Fortunato to cough constantly. Montresor led Fortunato into a small crypt. of course. carries undertones of the most vicious irony. they have progressed to the place of the dead where Fortunato will spend the rest of his existence — ironically. Thus. Fortunato says that he has forgotten what Montresor's coat of arms looks like. since what appears to be an act of kindness is only an act performed to keep the victim alive long enough to get him to the niche where he will be buried alive. As they passed deeper into the vaults. and in this case it will become an instrument of Fortunato's death — shortly after he implies that Montresor is not good enough to be a member of the Masonic Order. in his drunkenness. Montresor gave him a bottle of De Grave. at the time of the story's setting. unknowingly. would be yet one more of the many blatant insults for which Montresor hates Fortunato. In only a few minutes. which he brought with him. As they continued their journey. Fortunato drank the Medoc and once again became boisterous and once more "his bells jingled." Then. creating a further carnival atmosphere or a joyous time. Thus. which Fortunato emptied and then tossed the bottle into the air with a certain symbolic gesture. the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel" and that the family motto is "Nemo me impune lacessit" (No one attacks me with impunity). Fortunato then showed him a sign of the masons — a trowel. This statement.

the entire situation is ironic — that is. As noted in this discussion. When Fortunato stepped inside. at one point ask himself who is Montresor. in wines. he "heard the furious vibrations of the chain. and it is evident that he possesses considerable intelligence. he ran into the granite wall. Then Montresor looked through the remaining opening with his torch and could see nothing. and in other matters). but he did hear the jingling of Fortunato's bells as he laid the last stone in place. It could be that he is talking to one of his descendants. with only one more stone to be put into place. he was clever at the right time. again. his planning was perfect. Montresor. By the time Montresor had finished the last tier. Then Fortunato's voice called upon Montresor to put an end to this joke. Then. Montresor told Fortunato that the Amontillado was inside. Fortunato pleaded "For the love of God. and by the time he had laid the fourth tier. he completed three more tiers. Then there was silence. Very quickly. Montresor. Montresor uncovered a "quantity of building stone and mortar" and began to "wall up the entrance. the question . meaning "the fortunate one. the story abounds in ironies. at first. there came a long low laugh from within. from what we can glean from the story. and Montresor quickly locked him to the wall with a chain. albeit a type of diabolical intelligence. in height six or seven. The reader should. too. in spite of the reputed insults of Fortunato. perhaps noble family. which was "in depth about four feet. Montresor was momentarily frightened and then he delighted in joining in with the screams.niche. Montresor is using the atmosphere of celebration to disguise the horribly atrocious act of entombing a man alive." With only the first tier completed. then since Montresor seems to be apparently addressing someone. much less resist his imprisonment. But then." Resuming his chore. and he is also a person of considerable taste (in gems. clearly. Remember that he anticipated letting the servants off at a time that would not arouse suspicion since it was carnival time. no one has disturbed the peace of this place. Suddenly there was "a succession of loud and shrill screams" from inside the crypt and. the reader should ask himself whom Montresor is talking to (or writing about) and why. Fortunato. The name of the victim. he must now be very old. perhaps. came from an ancient. In his plan to entomb Fortunato in the Montresor catacombs. the most terrible and gruesome deeds are executed in a carnival atmosphere of gaiety and happiness. and at the time of the deed Montresor could not have been a young person." a request which Montresor mocked by repeating the phrase. he tells us. his entire plan of revenge was contrived with such perfection that Montresor had to be an exceptionally gifted person. Finally. in paintings. and. After all. Montresor heard deep moans from within. in width three." is the first irony. For fifty years. Since the deed was committed some fifty years ago. or else making his last confession to a priest. Fortunato was too drunk to even realize what was going on.

the carnival atmosphere versus the atrocities. The same is true when Fortunato insults Montresor concerning the masons — both a secret. is shocked by the diabolical efficiency of the murderer. In general. Until then. If indeed there was an insult of such magnitude. Fortunato will be entombed alive. the irony of the coat of arms. this story fits well into Poe's dictum that everything in a well-written story must contribute to a total effect. ironically. . of course. we’ll call him “the narrator. honorable order which requires close scrutiny for a person to become a member and. the jingling of the bells announcing his death. the smile was a satanic smile in anticipation of Fortunato's entombment. the irony in the unintentional remarks (or were they?) that Fortunato makes. a tool of which Montresor will use for a most dishonorable deed. he little knows that he is drinking a toast to his own impending death. the irony of Fortunato's name. Montresor's first words to him were "you are luckily met. of course. then is Fortunato unaware of it to such an extent that he would accompany the person that he has insulted into such a dreadful place? Or was he simply drunk with the carnival madness that was occurring throughout the city? The reader. Likewise. so we don’t explicitly learn the narrator’s name until near the end. The double and ironic viewpoint continues on every plane. The Cask of Amontillado Summary   BACK NEXT How It All Goes Down The story is told in first person. an honorable trade. when Fortunato drinks a toast to the people buried in the catacombs. when in reality.” Here we go. and later when he sneers at the possibility that Montresor could be a mason (and the irony connected with the type of mason which Montresor actually becomes) — all of these and many more contribute to the complete unity of this perfect short story. Likewise. When Montresor met Fortunato. and also. and also by the fact that Montresor has lived with impunity. his victim has rested in peace for fifty years.arises: How could a gifted person imagine insults of such magnitude so as to cause him to effect such a horrible revenge? Informing the entire story is the nature of an insult that could evoke such a well-planned. The constant use of irony — the drinking of the wine to warm Fortunato so that he can continue his journey to his death. who thought he saw a smile of warmth and friendliness. diabolical scheme of revenge. saying that he doesn't remember what the Montresor coat of arms is." The ironic reversal is true: Within a short time. he smiled continually at Fortunato.

and nobody has found out. Analysis: Plot Analysis   BACK NEXT . He meets Fortunato. Even worse. So he and the narrator go to the underground graveyard.” of the Montresor family. Fortunato has insulted him. Apparently. or “catacomb. Fortunato walks into a man-sized hole that’s part of the wall of a really nasty crypt. who is all dressed up in jester clothes for a carnival celebration − and is already very drunk.” After Fortunato cries out Montresor’s name. At the very end. Eventually. The narrator must get revenge. he doesn’t have any more lines. Montresor tells us that the whole affair happened fifty years ago. But just before Montresor puts in the last brick. Then Montresor finishes the job and leaves him there to die. When he has one brick left. then begins to close Fortunato in the hole by filling in the opening with bricks. getting him drunker and drunker along the way. The narrator leads Fortunato deeper and deeper into the catacomb. The narrator chains Fortunato to the wall. he psychologically tortures Fortunato until he begs for mercy – and we finally learn the narrator’s name: Fortunato calls him “Montresor. Fortunato expresses eager interest in verifying the wine’s authenticity. Fortunato jingles his bells .The narrator begins by telling us that Fortunato has hurt him. Fortunato keeps coughing. and the narrator constantly suggests that Fortunato is too sick to be down among the damp crypts. The narrator mentions he’s found a barrel of a rare brandy called Amontillado. and should go back. that’s where the narrator keeps his wine. Fortunato just keeps talking about the Amontillado.

But one day. Climax Trapped in a conveniently man-sized space! Montresor brings up Luchesi. waiting. . and he has to know it’s coming from Montresor. denouement. Initial Situation An insult.Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: the initial situation. conflict. Montresor never complains. The punishment must be permanent − Fortunato has to feel it. but Fortunato never considers turning back until it’s way too late. Fortunato insists on following Montresor down into the underground graveyard of your worst nightmares. Fortunato’s watching himself being bricked in. Suspense Brick by brick by brick… Montresor is building a wall of suspense. breathlessly to see if this is some kind of really creepy carnival joke. and Montresor vows revenge. Fortunato calls Luchesi an “ignoramus. After a few carefully dropped hints from Montresor (think “Amontillado” and “Luchesi”). Conflict How to make things right – forever For Montresor to revenge himself for Fortunato’s insult. and a vow of revenge Fortunato and Montresor have a history.” and boom! He’s chained inside an upright casket in the foulest depths of the catacomb! That’s the story’s big. Fortunato has wounded Montresor a “thousand” times. climax. complication. especially if you are Fortunato. suspense. Fortunato goes too far: he insults Montresor. he has to get away with it – if Fortunato can revenge him back. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice. Montresor baits him and plays with him. then Montresor has lost. and conclusion. Complication It’s almost too easy… There really isn’t much complication. explosive moment. and a painful one at that.

” Every detail seems to stand for something else. message that we are compelled to deciphe. Allegory Everything takes on symbolic meaning in “The Cask. Conclusion Looking back It’s impossible to know how old Montresor is when he kills Fortunato. More importantly. and he wants us to know it.. Imagery. Setting The setting in “The Cask. Fortunato will be dead.Denouement The final brick After Montresor puts in the final brick.” and in most Horror or Gothic Fiction. and no doubt gruesome. He’s heard the pitiful jingle of Fortunato’s bells. or to be flashing an encoded.. And he could be far more ancient. this conclusion lets us know that Montresor has gotten away with his crime so far. As soon as the air is used up in the tiny brick casket. His vengeance has been a success. The Cask of Amontillado Analysis Literary Devices in The Cask of Amontillado Symbolism... but in the second to the last line of the story. So Montresor is probably pushing eighty when he’s telling the story. and it means nothing to him. . has a special purpose: to suggest freedom or confinement. in harmony or opposition to the freedom or confinement of the. the suspense is dissolved. we learn that the murder happened fifty years ago.

. “The Cask” is a shocking example of this idea in action.. ge. Plot Analysis An insult. But one.. Tone Montresor describes the mounds of bones and stench of human remains so elegantly.. What’s Up With the Ending? Edgar Allan Poe claimed that a writer shouldn’t put pen to paper until he knows the ending (source)... Fortunato has wounded Montresor a “thousand” times... Montresor never complains. But nothing to be scared of. brutal. but irony contributes hugely to the spine-tingling power of “The Cask. and a vow of revengeFortunato and Montresor have a history. merciless. He doesn’t mind telling us about his torture and murder of. What’s Up With the Title? The title of this grim tale has an unusual ring to it. It doesn’t sound like anything we’ve ever heard before.... He is dedicated to his own point of view. conniving. in the middle of the night. and vengeful. It’s a mystery.. .” You can find irony in every line of the story. which is cold.Critic and teac. and a painful one at that. There are tons of sig. Genre You don’t need us to tell you “The Cask” is Horror or Gothic – the whole story is about two guys walking through a vast underground graveyard.Narrator Point of View Montresor is our vile narrator.. it almost sounds beautiful. The following passage is a good example:We passed through a range of low arches.We’ll start with &. descen.. Writing Style Irony probably doesn’t sound very terrifying.

and he vows to wreak a terrible vengeance on the man. with the promise. (Source) Steaminess Rating There's no sex in "The Cask.. At once it is easy to notice the authorial distance in the story. Mme. Trivia Sylvester Stallone is rumored to be writing and directing a film about Poe." What can we say? Thesis for "The Necklace"  By SoulxManure  Mar 6.”. The very first sentence is.He lures Fortunato down underground..Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis Amontillado!Fortunato is reveling in the carnival spirit. but it’s not enough. Loisel. 2013  497 Words  296 Views Thesis for “The Necklace” The meaning of Moupassant’s “The Necklace” is that one should not fall into the trap of wishing for better things and not recognizing what one has to be thankful for. especially the upper class and the rich. Three Act Plot Analysis Montresor thinks Fortunato insulted him. to illustrate this point as she struggles with her self-image and her desire to always be better in the eyes of others. Moupassant uses the main character. into the foul catacombs of the Montresor family. “She was . When he hears that Montresor has “a pipe of what passes for Amontillado.” his “energies...

Again and again the author shows us the husband’s love and sacrifice for his wife. At last. This supports the thesis.. Loisel. as if by mistake of destiny. when the necklace is of those pretty and charming girls who are sometimes. Loisel is unappreciative and frets about how she has nothing proper to wear to such a thing. Loisel’s struggle with her self-image. Then. more highly regarded family. This is the end of her first struggle with self-image. the reader would not see her actions in the story as clear mistakes. who is never fully satisfied. Mme. Loisel’s struggle with her self image is apparent during this part of the story. because if the reader were to become sympathetic with Mme. The husband is shown to be a good man. Loisel always feeling bad for herself for not being married into a better. This becomes clear when the husband comes home one evening with an invitation to a very select event that he thinks will make her happy. At first. she has a nice dress and a fine necklace and has a grand time at the event. Mme. Moupassant has Mme.” In this way the author keeps the reader from becoming sympathetic with Mme. born in a family of clerks.. Ple . but to no avail. After ten years of. always trying to please his wife. She and her husband go through great lengths to buy a replacement necklace and are forced to sacrifice many of their previous comforts. she begins a new struggle with her self image to save her self from being seen as a thief. Instead.