A man named Montresor tells a friend the story of how he murdered a fellow nobleman named Fortunado during a carnival in an unnamed Italian town.
Montresor finds Fortunado dressed as a jester and quite drunk and informs him that he has bought a rare cask of Amontillado wine. He asks Fortunado if he would accompany him back to his residence to sample the wine and verify its authenticity. In the house, the servants are all absent, somewhat humerously due to Montresor informing them he would be gone until morning while at the same time ordering them to not to leave the house for the carnival; an action which, he assumes, will guarantee that they will sneak out.
In the cellars, they begin their descent while Montresor plies Fortunado with wine. Fortunado makes an elaborate gesture while holding a wine bottle, which does not mean anything to Montresor. Fortunado asks Montresor if he is a Mason (Freemason). Montresor answers that he is, and, when Fortunado demands a sign, shows him a trowel hidden in his robes, making a pun by interpreting the question literally. They press on into the deepest part of the catacombs.
At this point Fortunado is too drunk to function properly, and steps into a niche in the wall when Montresor tells him the Amontillado is inside. Fortunado does not resist when Montresor wraps him in chains and begins building a wall out of bricks and mortar to seal Fortunado in the niche. However, the alcohol begins to wear off, and Fortunado moans and struggles against the chains while Montresor continues entombing him within the wall. As the servants have all snuck out, nobody is able to hear Fortunado's cries for help. Before the last brick is sealed, Fortunado shouts "For the love of God, Montresor!" to which Montresor replies, "Yes, for the love of God."
When he is finished, Montresor drops a lit torch into the hole to determine if Fortunado is still alive. He hears the bells from Fortunado's jester costume ringing, and remains until they are quiet, knowing that Fortunado is now dead. Montresor then tells his friend that it has been fifty years since the incident and nobody has caught him, and the body is still down in the catacomb walls. He ends his story saying, "In pace requiescat!"
- Sound files of public domain audiobooks of "The Cask of Amontillado" from LibriVox:
- Other works of Poe which deal with being buried alive: