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Study Guide for The Cask of Amontillado

I. VOCABULARY: Be able to define the following words and understand them when they
appear in the story.

Catacombs -- underground cemetery

Revenge -- to get back at someone for pain inflected

Cask -- a barrel for holding liquids

Flambeaux -- torches

Amontillado -- an expensive and rare wine

Virtuoso characteristic of a person with masterly knowledge or skills

Impunity freedom from punishment

Fettered to restrain with chains or shackles

Connoisseur a person with expert knowledge or training

Gait a particular way or manner of moving on foot

Precluded to make impossible

Retribution something given or demanded in repayment, especially punishment

Afflicted mentally or physically unfit

Explicit precisely and clearly expressed or readily observable

II. LITERARY TERMS: Be able to define each term and apply each term to the story.

Plot: Sequence of events in the story Montresor seeks revenge against Fortunato for insulting him.

verbal irony: a figure of speech in which what is said is the opposite of what is meant

Example: You are luckily met and yes, lets go

dramatic irony: Dramatic irony is when the words and actions of the characters of a work of literature
have a different meaning for the reader than they do for the characters. This is the result of the reader having a
greater knowledge than the characters themselves.

Example: we know that Fortunato is going to die

Narrator: Person telling the story -- Montresor


Author: person writing the story - Edger Allan Poe

Protagonist: Main character of the story. Montresor Example: He makes him go to the catacombs.

Mood: The climate of feeling in a literary work. The choice of setting, objects, details, images, and
words all contribute towards creating a specific mood. For example, an author may create a mood of mystery
around a character or setting but may treat that character or setting in an ironic, serious, or humorous tone.

*describe the mood of the story: scary, dark, twisted, creepy

Point of View: The narrator is a character in the story who can reveal only personal thoughts and
feelings and what he or she sees and is told by other characters. He cant tell us thoughts of other characters.

Theme: The main idea or underlying meaning of a literary work.

*What is the theme of the story?

Revenge Fortunato had committed many offenses against Montresor, the last one an insult, according to Montresor.

Deception To lure Fortunato into the catacombs, Montresor deceives Fortunato, telling him he wants to taste some wine
to determine whether it is genuine Amontillado.

Pride Fortunato readily accepts Montresor's invitation to taste wine and determine whether it is genuine Amontillado, for
Fortunato believes himself to be a great wine connoisseur. So proud is he of his ability that he takes on the challenge even
though he has a cough and is already somewhat drunk.

III. QUESTIONS: Answer the following questions.

1. What is the meaning of the phrase A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser?

It is basically saying that Fortunato has to pay and since he hasn't taken the time to make things right, he,
Montresor will have to now take matters into his own hands and issue Fortunato a fitting punishment.

2. Why did Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato?

Montresor felt as though the antagonist, Fortunato, has wronged him on numerous occasions, therefore, he
seeks revenge.

3. How did Montresor know that the house would be empty?

The carnival was taking place. He told the attendants that he would not be home until morning and they were
not to leave the house.

4. Where had the stone and morter, used by Montresor to wall up the entrance to the niche, been hidden?

Under bones

5. In your own words, describe the catacombs that Furtunato is led through.

6. Where and when is the story set? Give reasons for your answer.
It is early evening, in catacombs in an Italian city during a carnival.

7. Why does Montresor make sure Fortunato has drunk a lot of wine?

So that he would have little trouble chaining him up and walling him in when he kills him.

8. What is Luchasis role in the story?

He is a wine expert and Montresor lured Fortunato into the catacombs by saying that he could always get
Luchesi to taste the Amontillado instead of Fortunato. He is used to ensure that Fortunato comes with him.

9. What preparations had Montressor made for his revenge?

He lured him with the Amontillado. The bricks and morter were already where they needed to be. The chains
were also in place so that he could fetter him to the wall.

10. Why does Montresor appear concerned about Fortunatos health?

It is ironic because he is going to kill him. He wants him to live long enough so that he can kill him.

11. Describe Fortunatos character.

Throughout the story, Poe uses verbal and dramatic irony to build suspense, foreshadow the ending, and add a
touch of macabre humor. Here are some examples of irony:

The Title: The word cask, meaning wine barrel, is derived from the same root word used to form casket,
meaning coffin. Thus, the cask figuratively represents Fortunatos casket.
Fortunatos Name: The Italian name Fortunato suggests good fortune, luck. However, Fortunato is anything
but fortunate; he is going to his death.
Fortunatos Costume: Fortunato dresses as a court jester. His festive outfit contrasts with the ghastly fate that
awaits him. From time to time, the bell on his cone-shaped hat jinglesa nice comic touch from Poe.
Reference to Masons: Fortunato asks Montresor whether his is a mason, meaning a member of the fraternal
order of Freemasonry. Montresor says he is indeed a mason. However, he is using the word to mean a craftsman
who builds with stone and mortar (because he will be building Fortunatos tomb, a stone wall.)

Poe also uses irony frequently in the dialogue. For example, when Montresor runs into Fortunato, he says, My
dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. Later, when Montresor pretends to be concerned about Fortunatos
hacking cough as they descend into the vaults, Montresor says, We will go back. Your health is precious. You
are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as I once was. You are a man to be missed. Fortunato
then tells Montresor not to worry: The cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I will not die of a cough.
To this reply, Montresor says, Truetrue. The reader at this point can almost see a devilish gleam in
Montresors eyes, for he knows exactly how Fortunato will die. Later, Montresor opens a bottle of wine and
toasts Fortunato: To your long life, he says.