To build suspense in the story, Poe often employs foreshadowing. Forexample, when Fortunato says, “I shall not die of a cough,” Montresorreplies, “True,” because he knows that Fortunato will in fact diefrom dehydration and starvation in the crypt. Montresor’s descriptionof his family’s coat of arms also foreshadows future events. Theshield features a human foot crushing a tenacious serpent. In thisimage, the foot represents Montresor and the serpent representsFortunato. Although Fortunato has hurt Montresor with biting insults,Montresor will ultimately crush him. The conversation about Masonsalso foreshadows Fortunato’s demise. Fortunato challenges Montresor’sclaim that he is a member of the Masonic order, and Montresor repliesinsidiously with a visual pun. When he declares that he is a “mason”by showing his trowel, he means that he is a literal stonemason—thatis, that he constructs things out of stones and mortar, namely Fortunato’sgrave.

The final moments of conversation between Montresor andFortunato heighten the horror and suggest that Fortunato ultimately—andironically—achieves some type of upper hand over Montresor. Fortunato’splea, “For the love of God, Montresor!” has provoked much criticalcontroversy. Some critics suggest that Montresor has at last broughtFortunato to the pit of desperation and despair, indicated by hisinvocation of a God that has long left him behind. Other critics,however, argue that Fortunato ultimately mocks the “love of God,”thereby employing the same irony that Montresor has effectivelyused to lure him to the crypts. These are Fortunato’s final words,and the strange desperation that Montresor demonstrates in responsesuggests that he needs Fortunato more than he wants to admit. Onlywhen he twice screams “Fortunato!” loudly, with no response, doesMontresor claim to have a sick heart. The reasons for Fortunato’ssilence are unclear, but perhaps his willing refusal to answer Montresoris a type of strange victory in otherwise dire circumstances.




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