The first is Montresor, who firmly vows revenge upon the other character, Fortunato, for an insult. However, the actual focus is on Montresor, who serves as the narrator of the story about his perfect murder ("The Poe Perplex"). His story, around which the entire story revolves, is made clear even at the onset of the tale as he utters, "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge." (Poe).
With this, Montresor is seen abiding by his traditional family motto, i.e. no one can attack him without being punished. Furthermore, he declares that he "...must not only punish, but punish with impunity." (Poe).
On the other hand, Fortunato is the man whom Montresor pledges to murder. Montresor finds perfect bait for Fortunato with the latter being passionate about wines. Fortunato, as a connoisseur, insists on tasting Montresor's newly purchased Amontillado to determine its authenticity and expresses outrage when Montresor tells that he can consult Luchresi regarding the matter. Attired in a court jester costume, Fortunato, bearing great pride in himself, goes with Montresor to the palazzo where he meets his end as Montresor planned ("Adventures in Reading").
This horror story centers on the power of revenge that drives a man to murder his friend for an insult that he deems unforgivable. Montresor's mind frame is honed by his family's motto, "Nemo me impune lacessit." Or "No one assails me with impunity." On his coat of arms, this motto along with a symbol of "a huge human foot d'or, in field azure, the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel." (Poe).
As mentioned, Montresor narrates how he carefully planned the details of this perfect crime upon Fortunato whom he intends to punish through slow death. He makes sure that all his servants are out of the palazzo so there are no possible witnesses. He also chooses a place hidden enough so that no one may possibly inspect or suspect. Montresor uses Fortunato's pride in himself as a superior wine connoisseur to lure his friend.
It is also important to note that a vital component in Montresor's plan of revenge is that as Fortunato dies a slow death, he will constantly be reminded of the fact that he rejects myriad opportunities to escape from Montresor as the latter is adamant that they turn back due to his condition (Quinn).
He will remember how Montresor initially declines his offer to check on Amontillado since he is inflicted with cough and cold, thus, the dampness of the vault and presence of niter will not bode well for his present condition. On the way to the catacombs, upon hearing Fortunato's dreadful coughs, Montresor repeats his plea, "Come..., we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For met it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchresi..." (Poe). To this, Fortunato firmly replies, "Enough...the cough is a mere nothing, it will not kill me. I shall not die of cough," (Poe).
While rotting to death in the sealed catacombs, Fortunato will