The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe Introducing the Story Literary Focus: Unreliable Narrator Reading Skills: Drawing Conclusions Feature Menu
The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. . . .
The Cask of Amontillado Introducing the Story Lured away from the festivities of carnival by the promise of a fine wine, Fortunato takes an ill-fated journey into the depths of Montresor’s family catacombs. Are you willing to follow along as Fortunato is led through the dark, dank tunnels by a madman bent on revenge? [End of Section]
The Cask of Amontillado Literary Focus: Unreliable Narrator Writers sometimes assume a persona —a mask or a voice for a first-person narrator. When you read a story told by a first-person narrator, always ask yourself if you can trust the narrator.
The Cask of Amontillado Literary Focus: Unreliable Narrator An unreliable narrator may not always know the whole truth or may purposely choose to deceive us.
voice—distinctive style of speaking
To determine whether a narrator is reliable or not, pay attention to his or her [End of Section]
The Cask of Amontillado Reading Skills: Drawing Conclusions When you read a story, you gather evidence and draw conclusions, or make judgments, based on that evidence. To decide if Poe’s narrator is reliable, look closely
at what the narrator says and does
at what Fortunato, the narrator’s enemy, says
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The Cask of Amontillado Background Centuries ago, Christians in Italy buried their dead in catacombs—long, winding underground tunnels. Later, wealthy families built private catacombs beneath their homes. Dark and cool, these chambers were suitable not only for burial but also for the storage of fine wines, such as amontillado. Poe’s story is set during carnival, which is celebrated before the start of Lent, the season during which Christians give up various pleasures. During carnival, many people wear costumes and dance in the streets. [End of Section]
The Cask of Amontillado Quickwrite Make the Connection [End of Section] Edgar Allan Poe was a master at writing stories of revenge. What experiences could lead someone to seek revenge? How could an obsession with vengeance lead to tragedy? Jot down your responses, and include examples from stories or movies.
The Cask of Amontillado Vocabulary Previewing the Vocabulary precluded v.: made impossible in advance; prevented. impunity n.: freedom from punishment or harm. retribution n.: punishment. immolation n.: destruction. connoisseurship n.: expert knowledge. impose v. (used with upon ): take advantage of.
The Cask of Amontillado Vocabulary Previewing the Vocabulary recoiling v . used as adj.: moving backward, as in fear. endeavored v.: tried. obstinate adj.: stubborn. succession n.: series.
The Cask of Amontillado Vocabulary 1. The criminals thought that they could operate with no fear of punishment . 2. A whole series of lawyers had struggled to prove that he was guilty of the crime. 3. The defense lawyer felt that the public’s desire for revenge ruled out the possibility of acquittal. Vocabulary Activity Choose the best vocabulary word to replace each underlined word or phrase. retribution succession impunity precluded endeavored impunity succession; endeavored retribution; precluded [End of Section]
The Cask of Amontillado Meet the Writer Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809 to traveling actors. His father deserted the family, and Poe’s mother died before Edgar was three. Poe was taken in as a foster child by the wealthy and childless Allan family of Richmond. However, he later fell out of favor with his foster father and was left penniless. Poe wrote regularly and his works were successful with the public. Conservative critics, though, mocked Poe’s unusual poems and stories. More About the Writer [End of Section]