The cask of amontillado


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The cask of amontillado

  1. 1. The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe Cultural Literacy and Background for Understanding
  2. 2. “…but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.”“The Cask of Amontillado” is thenarrator’s account of his ability to carry out a chilling plot of revenge against his offender.
  3. 3. Precision in time, place, andsetting preclude the idea of riskand allow the narrator both the retribution he seeks and the impunity he demands.
  4. 4. Carnival
  5. 5. Carnival• 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.
  6. 6. CARNIVAL• Traditionally, the fasting during Lent involves abstaining from eating meat.• Modern interpretations of fasting may involve abstaining from anything one enjoys.
  7. 7. Carn + Val FLESH (Meat) + FAREWELLIn anticipation of the solemnity of Lent, the celebration of Carnival evolved.Participants engage in excessive and extreme behavior to bid farewell to meat-eating (and merriment).
  8. 8. What happens during Carnival?• Carnival is a time of EXCESS and INDULGENCE.• BINGEING upon food and alcohol is common.
  9. 9. Partying in the streets andmasquerading are enjoyed.
  10. 10. The combination of alcohol andcostumes creates an atmosphere where people tend to let down their inhibitions.
  11. 11. European Carnival traditionssurvive in the United States in the form of Mardi Gras.
  12. 12. “The Cask of Amontillado” is setduring the “supreme madness” of Carnival.In such a riotous atmosphere, it iseasy to see how a crime could go unnoticed.
  13. 13. Lifestyles of the Rich Circa 1700-1800
  14. 14. The wealthy class enjoyed indulgences such as• Gemmary
  15. 15. Painting
  16. 16. Palazzos (mansions)•
  17. 17. Fine Wine (vintages)
  18. 18. Vineyards, where the grapes forproducing wine are grown, create picturesque settings for owners’ estates.
  19. 19. The narrator plans for his revenge to take place in the catacombs beneath his estate. What are catacombs?
  20. 20. Catacombs: Cities of the Dead
  21. 21. At a certain point in Europeanhistory, catacombs, undergroundburial chambers, became a viable alternative to cemeteries.
  22. 22. Catacombs are characterized by extensive tunnels leading tochambers or recesses where the dead repose for eternity.
  23. 23. The wealthy could opt for familycatacombs beneath their estates.
  24. 24. The narrator of “The Cask of Amontillado” carries out hisrevenge within the catacombs beneath his palazzo.
  25. 25. The narrator is able to lure his victim into the catacombs with the promise of amontillado, a fine sherry wine.(The l’s are pronounced like the l’s in tortilla.)
  26. 26. The “supreme madness” ofCarnival aside, why doesn’t the suggestion of a journey to the catacombs for a taste of wine seem odd or suspicious to the victim?
  27. 27. The Storage of Wine
  28. 28. For wines to maintain their bestquality, they need to be stored at fairly cool and constant temperatures.
  29. 29. During the time period in which the story is set, modern electric refrigeration was not available. To protect wine collections,connoisseurs adopted the practiceof storing wines under the groundwhere temperatures remain ideal year-round.
  30. 30. Basements, cellars, and even catacombs serve as excellentstorage facilities for the precious vintages.
  31. 31. Herein, where wine bottlesintermingle with the bones of the dead, the narrator carries out his plan for revenge.
  32. 32. Edgar Allan Poe• Author, not the narrator, of the story.• Developed characters whose sanity is questionable.• Universally credited as a significant contributor to the development of the short story as a literary genre.
  33. 33. “The Cask of Amontillado” A legend holds that the inspiration for "The Cask of Amontillado" came from astory Poe had heard at Castle Island in Massachusetts when he was a private there in 1827 (Bergen 106). According to this legend, Poe was told the story of a brawlin which one lieutenant named Drane killed another officer, named Massie, after a disagreement at cards. Some versions of the legend hold that Drane was subsequently buried alive by friends of Massie, but this report appears to be an inaccuracy influenced by Poes story, as Drane is known to have been alive years later. A report of a skeleton discovered on the island may be a confused remembering of Poes major source, Joel Headleys "A Man Built in a Wall," which recounts the authors seeing an immured skeleton in the wall of a church in Italy (Mabbott 1254).
  34. 34. SourcesCoil, Suzanne M. Mardi Gras (photos by Michael Osborne). New York: Macmillan, 1994.France: A Culinary Journey. San Francisco: Collins, 1992.Poe, Edgar A. “The Cask of Amontillado” Literature. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ 1998.“Underground Paris: The Catacombs.”