The main character, Fortunato, is portrayed as an important and cultured man. His name can be interpreted as "the man of fortune", but the irony is that he is faced with bad luck to have wronged a man with a deathless memory and a commitment to "not only punish, but punish with impunity" (Poe 848). The irony is that Poe does not tell readers the exact offense he has committed, and can make no evaluation upon whether Montressor's revenge is justifiable. "Revenge is a dish best served cold" (Poe 541).Readers cannot analyze and evaluate Montressor's right for revenge.
An abundant use of irony is evident in contrasting characters of Fortunato and Montressor. Poe does not directly state that Fortunato is nave or Montressor is a very cunning man. Readers can guess and predict that these characteristics are probably true.
Fortunato's ability to assess and judge situations accurately is questioned at the beginning of the story when he insists upon leaving his family and friends to descend into a damp wine vault in order to answer Montressor's challenge at judging the worth of a cask of wine. Montressor describes: "Putting on a mask of black silk, and drawing a roquelaire closely about my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo" (Poe 848). His pride is great and he feels he alone is capable of making this evaluation; he pays a terrible price for this arrogance.
The uniqueness of the short story is that Poe links two stylistic devices: humor and acute irony which leads to change from what is expected. As the two men proceed along toward Fortunato's ultimate resting place, Montressor's sarcastic remarks and exclamation add ironic details and black humor. He asks Fortunato about his health and long life, reveals his mason trowel when Fortunato mentions that he is a member of the secret Mason society, plays with the Fortunato by telling him that he intends to provide him "all the little attentions in my power" (Poe 852). Also, the irony is that Fortunato is dressed in the suit of a clown to join in the celebration of carnival. This detail gives some hints to readers about true nature and personality of this character. The irony is evident in the setting of the story. During the carnival season, Montresor encounters Fortunato and reports that he has purchased some Amontillado.
It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted me with excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much" (Poe 846).
Fortunato becomes anxious to sample the wine in question and deliver an opinion as to its merits; so he is easily led into a niche where he is fettered with chains and immured by Montresor, who has both a trowel and some fresh mortar handy. Fortunato, who has been drinking and coughing, quickly becomes sober and begs to be released, but to no avail.
An abundant use of irony is evident when Poe unveils life and destiny of Montressor. Through this character, Poe's portrays a fanatical person who has spent the best part of his life first planning and then executing the murder of Fortunato. Fifty years later, Montressor is still thinking about the corpse that has been quietly