Tuesday, March 12, 2024

The triple meaning of Montresor’s toast to Fortunato’s “long life” in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” (1846)

On their way to the titular Amontillado in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" (1846), the narrator Montresor and his friend Fortunato pause in Montresor's catacombs to drink wine, and Fortunato offers a toast: "I drink [...] to the buried that repose around us." Montresor responds: "And I to your long life." For Fortunato, Montresor's toast is an unambiguous conventional formula. For Montresor, it has two senses: the one Fortunato hears, and the irony of his planned murder of Fortunato. But the unidentified addressee of Montresor's story hears three senses: Fortunato's single meaning, Montresor the imminent murderer's double meaning, and the wit that Montresor the storyteller offers to be appreciated. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 12 March 2024)

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