What Does Montresor Mean When He Says In Painting and Gemmary? Exploring the Symbolism in “The Cask of Amontillado”

In his unforgettable story, “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe has given us an immortal villain: Montresor. This treacherous character represents the epitome of revenge, and his actions in the story are shocking and sinister. One of Montresor’s most intriguing comments in the story is when he mentions “painting and gemmary.” But what does he mean by that phrase?

To truly understand the meaning of “painting and gemmary,” we need to take a closer look at Montresor’s character. He is cunning, manipulative, and calculating, all for the sake of his revenge. Montresor is very particular in his acts of vengeance, planning every detail with the precision of a skilled artist. He is also vain and proud, a man who appreciates the finer things in life, including beautiful art and precious gems.

So, when Montresor uses the phrase “painting and gemmary,” he is referencing his meticulous planning and his obsessive pursuit of revenge, all while indulging in his love for beautiful things. To Montresor, his actions are a work of art, and the ultimate gem in his collection. It is this dark and twisted reasoning that sets him apart from other literary villains, and why he continues to fascinate readers to this day.

Symbolism in Montresor’s statement

Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story “The Cask of Amontillado” features the character Montresor, who says, “I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him.” This statement is loaded with symbolism and has been analyzed and debated by literary scholars for decades. Here are some of the key symbols present in Montresor’s statement:

  • Masking emotions: Montresor’s statement suggests that he concealed his true feelings towards the victim, the old man. This symbolism is significant because it reflects the theme of deception that pervades the story. Montresor is a master manipulator who seeks to exact his revenge without giving away his true motives.
  • The passage of time: The mention of “the whole week” before the murder also has symbolic significance. It suggests that Montresor was plotting his revenge carefully, and that the murder was not a spontaneous act. This reinforces the idea that Montresor is a calculated, cold-hearted character.
  • Art and aesthetics: The phrase “in painting and gemmary” also has symbolic significance. Painting is often associated with beauty and aesthetics, while gemmary refers to the study of precious stones. Both of these terms suggest that Montresor is a man of refined tastes. However, the fact that he uses these terms in the context of murder suggests that he sees killing as an art form, or something that is done with precision and finesse. This further reinforces the idea that Montresor is a twisted, sociopathic character.

The significance of painting in “The Cask of Amontillado”

In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”, painting plays a crucial role in setting up the mood and tone of the story. Montresor, the narrator of the story, mentions painting and gemmary several times, leaving the readers to wonder about the true meaning behind his words.

  • Painting represents revenge: Montresor describes his family coat of arms as “a huge human foot d’or, in a field of azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.” This imagery portrays a revengeful act against someone who had wronged Montresor’s family, and this theme of revenge is highlighted throughout the story.
  • Painting symbolizes manipulation: Montresor tries to lure his victim, Fortunato, into his trap by tempting him with the rarest of wines. He even tells Fortunato that he will seek the advice of Luchresi, a non-existent wine connoisseur, to manipulate Fortunato into accepting the invitation and descending into Montresor’s vaults.
  • Painting foreshadows death: Montresor paints a picture of death and decay throughout the story. He even puts his victim’s name, Fortunato, in contrast with his fate, which is anything but fortunate. This use of painting sends a clear message to the readers about the impending doom Fortunato faces.

Thus, painting in “The Cask of Amontillado” serves as a symbolic representation of revenge, manipulation, and foreshadows death. The clever use of this literary device adds depth and richness to the story, making it a classic masterpiece of American literature.

Overall, Poe’s story captivates the reader with its intricate plot and meaningful themes. It reminds us that revenge can sometimes be sweet, but at what cost? The answer lies within Poe’s words and his masterful use of painting as a literary device.

The Importance of Gemstones in the Story

Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado” is a story about revenge, set in an underground catacomb. Montresor, the main character and narrator, lures his victim, Fortunato, to the catacomb, where he traps him and buries him alive. Throughout the story, gemstones play an important role, adding symbolism and depth to the narrative.

  • The Amontillado: The story revolves around Montresor’s plan to get revenge on Fortunato for a perceived insult. The wine, amontillado, acts as a symbol for Montresor’s revenge. Just as amontillado is a rare and valuable wine, Montresor’s revenge is a rare and valuable plot that he has been waiting for the right moment to execute.
  • The Medoc: When Montresor first encounters Fortunato, he mentions that he has lured him to the catacomb to taste a cask of amontillado, but he tells Fortunato that he might suffer from a bad cold and offers him some Medoc, a red wine, to help him feel better. The Medoc could represent Montresor’s deception, which is the cause of Fortunato’s downfall.
  • The Masonic Sign: As they proceed through the catacomb, Fortunato is delighted to find that he has a companion of the same order, the Masons, in Montresor. However, Montresor’s coat of arms does not feature a masonic sign. This could symbolize that Montresor is lying about being a Freemason, and it adds suspicion to his portrayal of Fortunato as a gullible person who trusts others too readily.

Gemstones are not just symbols in the story; they also add to the story’s overall atmosphere and ambiance. The catacomb is described as being filled with the glint of precious stones, adding to the gothic and ominous feel of the story. Furthermore, the story’s setting in an underground burial place makes the presence of gemstones seem more sinister and death-like. Additionally, gemstones are used as an allusion to greed, which adds an air of tension to the story and foreshadows the eventual betrayal.

The use of gemstones in “The Cask of Amontillado” adds depth to the narrative, brings symbolism and character development, and elevates the story’s gothic atmosphere, demonstrating Edgar Allan Poe’s writing prowess.

Gemstone Meaning/Significance
Amontillado Symbol for rare and valuable revenge
Medoc Symbol for Montresor’s deception
Masonic sign Symbolizes Montresor’s lying and Fortunato’s gullibility

Gemstones not only add symbolism and depth in “The Cask of Amontillado,” but they also contribute to the overall ambiance of the story. The glint of precious stones in the underground catacomb creates a gothic and ominous feel. The use of gemstones contributes to the portrayal of greed, adding tension and foreshadowing. Poe’s use of gemstones adds to the story’s complexity and illustrates his mastery of storytelling.

Montresor’s Motivation for Mentioning Painting and Gemmary

Throughout Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado,” Montresor mentions his knowledge and appreciation for painting and gemmary. It is no coincidence that Poe included these references, as they serve to reveal Montresor’s character and provide insight into his motivation for seeking revenge against Fortunato.

  • Display of Wealth and Prestige
  • Montresor’s knowledge of gemmary can be seen as a display of his wealth and prestige. Gems, particularly precious stones like diamonds, were highly valued and rare during the time period. By mentioning his familiarity with them, Montresor is signaling to the audience his status as an affluent member of society. Additionally, his appreciation of art, specifically painting, showcases his refined taste and cultured background.

  • Symbolism of the Mosaic
  • Montresor’s mention of the mosaic in his family’s crypt serves as a symbol of his revenge against Fortunato. The crypt is described as having a “low circular crypt,” with “walls decorated with images of bones.” These images of bones represent the death and decay that Montresor desires for Fortunato. Additionally, the mosaic itself depicts a giant foot crushing a serpent, which can be interpreted as Montresor triumphing over his enemy.

  • Psychological Manipulation
  • Finally, Montresor’s interest in painting and gemmary can be seen as a tool for psychological manipulation. By portraying himself as a cultured and knowledgeable individual, he is able to gain Fortunato’s trust and manipulate him into following him into the catacombs. Furthermore, the paintings and gemstones could serve as a distraction or misdirection for Fortunato, allowing Montresor to carry out his plan without suspicion.

The Importance of Montresor’s Mention of Painting and Gemmary

Overall, Poe’s inclusion of Montresor’s knowledge of painting and gemmary serves to reveal the character’s motivations and personality. Montresor’s interest in these areas displays his wealth and prestige, symbolizes his desire for revenge, and aids in his psychological manipulation of Fortunato.

Gemstones Painting
Diamonds Leonardo da Vinci
Emeralds Michelangelo
Rubies Vincent van Gogh

By utilizing these elements, Poe effectively adds depth and complexity to Montresor’s character and enhances the overall narrative of “The Cask of Amontillado.”

The role of art in Edgar Allan Poe’s writing

Edgar Allan Poe is best known for his dark and mysterious stories that often explored the depths of the human psyche. However, what is often overlooked in his writing is the significant role that art played. From poetry to painting and gemstones, Poe weaved the concepts of art into his writing, ultimately enhancing the storytelling experience. In one of his most famous works, “The Cask of Amontillado,” Poe uses the phrase “painting and gemmary” to describe the art collection of the story’s protagonist, Montresor. Let’s explore what Poe may have meant by this phrase and the significance of art in his storytelling.

What does Montresor mean by “painting and gemmary?”

When Montresor, the protagonist of “The Cask of Amontillado,” refers to his art collection as “painting and gemmary,” he is essentially referring to his cherished works of art in painting and gemstone forms. Poe uses this description to show Montresor’s wealth and adherence to the finer things in life. The art collection represents Montresor’s taste and his ability to acquire such items, further emphasizing his dominance over Fortunato, the story’s antagonist.

The significance of art in Poe’s writing

  • Character development: Just as Montresor’s art collection is used to develop his character, Poe often used art to depict the personality and internal struggles of his characters. For instance, in “The Oval Portrait,” the painting is used to reflect the protagonist’s obsession with capturing the perfect art piece.
  • Mood-setting: Art was also used by Poe to set the tone and mood of his stories. The dark and somber nature of his writing is often accompanied by references to art that contribute to the feeling of gloom and doom.
  • Symbols: In many of Poe’s works, art is used as a symbol to represent a central theme or idea of the story. For instance, in “The Masque of the Red Death,” the colorful rooms in Prince Prospero’s castle represent the stages of life, ultimately culminating in death.

The role of gemstones in Poe’s writing

Gemstones were often used by Poe to represent a character’s purity or inner selves. In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Montresor’s use of a diamond to lure Fortunato to his demise shows the gemstone’s significance as a symbol of treachery. Similarly, in “A Descent into the Maelstrom,” the protagonist’s gemstone-like perception allows him to survive the treacherous waters. Overall, gems represented not only wealth and affluence but also served as a tool for storytelling that added depth and complexity to Poe’s work.


Subtopic Key Points
Character Development Art used to develop characters in Poe’s stories
Mood-Setting Art used to set the tone of his stories
Symbols Art used to represent central themes and ideas in his stories
Gemstones Gemstones used to represent characters’ purity and inner selves

Art played a significant role in Edgar Allan Poe’s storytelling. From character development to mood-setting and symbolism, Poe used art to enhance the reader’s experience and add depth to his work. By including references to painting and gemstones in “The Cask of Amontillado” and other stories, Poe seamlessly wove art into his stories, ultimately contributing to his legacy as one of the most famous and prolific writers of all time.

Analyzing Montresor’s character through his statement

Montresor’s statement “In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack, but in the matter of old wines he was trustworthy” reveals a lot about his character. Let’s take a closer look at how we can analyze Montresor’s character through this statement.

  • Attention to Detail: One can infer that Montresor is a person who pays close attention to details and is knowledgeable in various fields. He is well-versed in painting, gemstones, and fine wine – indicating that he is well-read and enjoys the finer things in life.
  • Sly: Montresor’s statement also reveals his sly nature. By praising Fortunato’s wine expertise, he lures him into the catacombs to taste a nonexistent sherry, ultimately leading to his demise. This suggests that Montresor is a cunning and manipulative individual who can play mind games to get what he wants.
  • Vengeful: Montresor’s remark that Fortunato was a “quack” in painting and gemstones implies a grudge against him. He sees Fortunato as someone who is not credible and is unworthy of his respect. This, along with his desire for revenge, pushes him to commit the heinous act of murdering Fortunato.

Overall, Montresor’s statement reveals a complex character with an eye for details, a sly and manipulative personality, and a vengeful nature. It is these traits that make him a fascinating character to analyze and a memorable part of Edgar Allan Poe’s literary legacy.

If you’re interested in learning more about Poe’s masterpiece, “The Cask of Amontillado”, be sure to check out our article on the symbolism and themes in the story.

Trait Explanation
Attention to Detail Well-versed in painting, gemstones, and fine wine – indicating being well-read and enjoys the finer things in life
Sly Manipulates Fortunato to his death by luring him into catacombs to taste a nonexistent sherry
Vengeful Grudge against Fortunato leading him to commit the heinous act of murder

With these traits, Montresor is a fascinating character and a testament to Poe’s skill at character creation.

The use of language in “The Cask of Amontillado”

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” is a masterful tale that employs various literary devices to create a sense of suspense and intrigue. One of the most notable aspects of the story is the use of language, which serves to heighten the tension and build a sense of foreboding. Here, we’ll examine the significance of one particular phrase that occurs early in the tale: “In painting and gemmary.”

  • The double meaning of “In painting and gemmary”: This phrase appears in the very first paragraph of the story, when Montresor says, “You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitively settled— but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong. It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Montresor cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation.He had a weak point—this Fortunato—although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine. Few Italians have the true virtuoso spirit. For the most part their enthusiasm is adopted to suit the time and opportunity—to practise imposture upon the British and Austrian millionaires. In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack; but in the matter of old wines he was sincere. In this respect I did not differ from him materially: I was skilful in the Italian vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I could.”
  • The symbolic use of “7”: The number 7 appears on numerous occasions throughout the story, and is likely intended as a symbolic representation of completion or perfection. For example, Montresor invites Fortunato to taste a “pipe” of Amontillado that he claims to have acquired “from the vaults of the Montresors.” The word “pipe” is a reference to a large barrel or cask of wine, but it is also a nod to the shape of the instrument of punishment that Montresor plans to use on Fortunato. Additionally, Montresor describes the catacombs in detail, noting that they have “low arches, dank walls, and niches that were once the resting places of receding bones.” The repetition of the number 7 is also evident in this passage; for example, the words “low,” “dank,” “niches,” and “receding” all contain seven letters.

Overall, the use of language in “The Cask of Amontillado” is expertly crafted, with each detail carefully chosen to contribute to the sense of foreboding that pervades the story. The phrase “In painting and gemmary” serves as a prime example of this technique, introducing the theme of artifice and false appearances that underlies much of the story’s action.

Subtopic Description
Double meaning of “In painting and gemmary” Explaining the meaning of the phrase and how it adds to the story
Symbolic use of “7” Discussing the repetition of this number and its significance in the story

Through these techniques, Poe creates a world that is both richly detailed and hauntingly atmospheric, drawing readers into a web of darkness and intrigue that leaves a lasting impression.

What Does Montresor Mean When He Says in Painting and Gemmary?

Q: What is painting?

A: Painting refers to the art of creating images on a surface using pigments, dyes, or other media such as oil, watercolor, or acrylic paints.

Q: What is gemmary?

A: Gemmary refers to the study and collection of precious gems and stones, including their properties, origins, and uses.

Q: Why did Montresor mention painting and gemmary?

A: In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” Montresor mentions painting and gemmary to assert his intellectual superiority over Fortunato, who professes to be an expert in wine but not in other areas such as these.

Q: What does Montresor mean when he says “In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack”?

A: Montresor is saying that Fortunato is a fraud or impostor in these fields, despite his claims to the contrary. He is using this insult to further belittle and humiliate Fortunato.

Q: Does Montresor have knowledge in painting and gemmary?

A: It is unclear whether Montresor actually has any expertise in these areas, or if he is merely using his knowledge (or lack thereof) to manipulate Fortunato.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for reading about what Montresor means when he says in painting and gemmary. His words are a warning not to judge one’s knowledge based on a single field of expertise. As we explore different disciplines, it’s important to maintain a sense of humility and curiosity about what we don’t yet know. Remember to check back soon for more interesting articles!