The Cask of Amontillado
by Edgar Allan Poe
“…but when he ventured upon
insult, I vowed revenge.”
“The Cask of Amontillado” is the
narrator’s account of his ability
to carry out a chilling plot of
revenge against his offender.
The plot is quite simple. The first-person narrator,
whom we later discover to be named Montresor,
announces immediately that someone named
Fortunato has injured him repeatedly and has recently
Montresor can stand no more; he vows revenge upon
Fortunato. The remainder of the story deals with
Montresor's methods of entrapping Fortunato and
effecting his revenge upon the unfortunate Fortunato.
Foremost is the fact that Montresor has never let
Fortunato know of his hatred.
The story begins around dusk, one evening
during the carnival season (similar to the
Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans) in an
unnamed European city. The location quickly
changes from the lighthearted activites
associated with such a festival to the damp,
dark catacombs under Montressor's palazzo
which helps to establish the sinister
atmosphere of the story.
• Carnival is a secular holiday, but it
evolved from the Christian
observance known as Lent.
• Lent is a solemn forty-day period
of fasting prior to Easter.
• Traditionally, the fasting during
Lent involves abstaining from
• Modern interpretations of fasting
may involve abstaining from
anything one enjoys.
Carn + Val
FLESH (Meat) + FAREWELL
In anticipation of the solemnity of Lent,
the celebration of Carnival evolved.
Participants engage in excessive and
extreme behavior to bid farewell to
What happens during Carnival?
• Carnival is a time of EXCESS and
• BINGEING upon food and alcohol is
Partying in the streets and
masquerading are enjoyed.
For wines to maintain their best
quality, they need to be stored at
fairly cool and constant
During the time period in which
the story is set, modern electric
refrigeration was not available.
To protect wine collections,
connoisseurs adopted the practice
of storing wines under the ground
where temperatures remain ideal
Basements, cellars, and even
catacombs serve as excellent
storage facilities for the precious
Herein, where wine bottles
intermingle with the bones of the
dead, the narrator carries out his
plan for revenge.
Nitre is a potassium
nitrate salt formerly
known as saltpeter.
Saltpeter is composed
of the names “Sal” or
salt, and “Petrae” or
rock. Literally, salt of
the white webwork
which gleams from the
these cavern walls.”
an ancient vault or catacomb
Flagon or vase of De
Grave, type of wine
Trowel hand tool used
by brick masons
A member of the
Freemasons, a worldwide
Symbol for the Freemasons
One whose occupation is
to build with stone or
brick; also, one who
prepares stone for
“A huge foot d’or, in
a field azure; the foot
crushes a serpent
rampant whose fangs
are imbedded in the
“ Nemo me impune lacessit ” Translation: “No
one provokes me with impunity” /A more
colloquial translation into English would be “No
one attacks me and gets away with it.”
Edgar Allan Poe
• Author, not the narrator,
of the story.
• Developed characters
whose sanity is
• Universally credited
as a significant
contributor to the
development of the short
story as a literary genre.
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