In Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” Montresor’s meticulous planning of Fortunato’s murder is eerily similar to the strategy behind Connie’s rape by Arnold Friend in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ” by Joyce Carol Oates. Both predators lure their victims in by pretending to be their friend, using their weaknesses to their advantage and seizing the opportune moment for attack. Montresor and Arnold Friend conceal their true motives under the guise of friendship. Montresor says: “[N]either by word nor deed had (I) given Fortunato cause to doubt (my) goodwill” (180).
During their journey down the catacombs, Montresor continually shows concern for his friend’s health and even offers to cease their trek so Fortunato does not get ill. Arnold Friend drives up to Connie’s house and introduces himself: “I’m Arnold Friend and that’s my real name and I’m gonna be your friend, honey” (156). He converses with Connie in a singsong dialogue to get her comfortably believing that he might be a friend to her. Both Montresor and Arnold use their prey’s weakness to lure them into their traps.
Montresor baits Fortunato with his one true weakness: wine. Fortunato is so entranced at the thought of sampling a rare Amontillado that he ignores his alarming cough and continues happily down into the catacombs to his impending death. Connie’s weakness is men. She likes to dress up in a fashion that grabs their attention, a little more attention than she can handle or knows what to do with. Arnold Friend studies Connie from afar to mold himself into her perfect “dream guy,” right down to the smallest details of what music she likes to listen to.
When Arnold drives up the driveway, Connie sees a man that she is instantly attracted to. Montresor and Arnold have put so much thought into their planning that they know exactly when the perfect moment will be for them to execute it. Montresor waits until the “supreme madness of the carnival season” (180) to tell his attendants that he will be out all night, and they are to remain inside the house. He knows that these orders are sufficient to ensure their immediate disappearance as soon as his back is turned.
Montresor is now free to take all night long to entomb his friend in the catacombs with his ancestors. Arnold Friend knows exactly when Connie’s family will be going to their barbeque celebration, and also knows that Connie will not be joining them: “I found out all about you—like I know your parents and sister are gone somewheres and I know where and how long they’re going to be gone”(157). Arnold has all day long to convince Connie to go for a ride with him to the fields, and will not be interrupted by her family coming home.
Edgar Allen Poe’s character Montresor and Joyce Carol Oates’ character Arnold Friend, although very different personalities, use the same blueprint to ensure that their plans will be effectively carried out. They both make extensive background checks on their victims while having them believe that they are their friends. Furthermore they see to it that their crimes will not be interrupted, giving them full confidence that their atrocities will never be discovered. Montresor and Arnold Friend are two brilliant criminal geniuses that caution readers against the dangers of strangers.