The Cask of Amontillado

The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe
Quickwrite - What experiences could lead someone to seek revenge? How could an
obsession with vengeance lead to tragedy? Respond to these questions and include
examples from stories, movies or real life!
Literary Focus - Define the following literary terms:
Unreliable Narrator –
PersonaFirst-person NarratorVoiceDictionToneReading Skills – When you read, you act like a detective. You gather evidence and draw
conclusions, or make judgments, based on that evidence.
Drawing Conclusions is important! How would a reader go about deciding whether a
narrator is unreliable? Explain.
Read the short story “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe.
Story Questions – Go to page 219 and discuss Questions 1-12 in a small group.
Independent Inquiry - Once you have completed the small group discussion complete
the following questions.
1. Poe hints that the narrator may be unreliable. How do the opening statements
suggest that he is overreacting?
2. Notice how the narrator secretively schemes for revenge. Is this how most people
would respond to an insult? Explain.
3. Why is the narrator glad to see Fortunato?
4. Most people do not act friendly toward those they hate. What conclusion might
the narrator’s behavior lead you to draw about his mental state?
5. How does the narrator lure Fortunato to his palace? What does the narrator’s
strategy tell you about him?
6. What does the narrator’s attitude about toward his servants reveal about his view
of humanity?
7. What is bizarre about the narrator’s reference to Fortunato as his “poor friend”?
8. Do you predict that Fortunato will have a long life? What do you predict will
happen to Fortunato?
9. What archetypal images appear on the Montresor coat of arms?
10. What is suggested by the image and motto?
11. Why does Montresor profess concern for Fortunato’s health? How does this
passage suggest that Montresor is an unreliable narrator?
12. Montresor uses the word mason to mean a member of an exclusive, secret society
called Freemasons. How does he use the word to create an ominous pun (play on
words/more than one meaning)?
13. What kind of person has Fortunato shown himself to be?
14. What can you conclude about Montresor’s state of mind when he stops his work
to enjoy Fortunato’s cries?
15. What is ironic about Montresor’s reference to Fortunato as noble?
16. What does this dialogue reveal about the characters’ states of mind at the end of
the story? P. 217, second column, fourth-sixteenth line: “The voice said…”?
17. Do you think Montresor’s “heart grew sick” because of the dampness or for some
other reason? Support your conclusion with an explanation.
18. Analyze the way tone, voice, persona, and choice of narrator affect
characterization and plot. Make sure you provide a thorough explanation.
19. Is this just a gripping horror story told only for entertainment, or does it reveal
some truth about people who are consumed by a desire for revenge?
20. Do you believe the narrator to be reliable or unreliable? Explain the reason for
your choice. Use textual evidence to validate your stance.
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