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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

SHORT STORY ANALYSIS: The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

I. THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO                
By Edgar Allan Poe

         Due to Montresor’s long-standing hatred towards his friend Fortunato, the former decided to kill the latter. Montresor could not stand anymore his friend’s injuries and insults so he planned to lure Fortunato into the catacombs where a supposed pipe of Amontillado, a type of wine, was there. Montresor needed Fortunato’s expertise in wine, which was also Fortunato’s weak point. When they were already at the hidden place, Montresor buried Fortunato alive. Actually, that murder happened 50 years ago, and now, Montresor is telling it to the readers in a first-person narration.



1.   Montresor - Protagonist
2.   Fortunato- Antagonist


a)  Introduction

         At the start of this short story, Montresor narrates how he has suppressed his anger towards Fortunato  due to the “thousand injuries.” But when he is already insulted, Montresor wants revenge.

 b)  Rising Action

         One evening, Montresor invites the drunk Fortunato to his big house where there is nobody else because he let his attendants have the night off.  He wants Fortunato’s expertise in wine, to check the supposed Amontillado in his extensive vaults.

c)  Climax

       The story is at its peak moment when Montresor starts to cover the niche’s entrance, with Fortunato in there.

d)    Falling action 

       When Fortunato realizes he is trapped, his drunkenness seems to leave him.      

e)   Denouement

      Things resolve when Montresor cannot hear anymore Fortunato’s sharp cries. And when he calls out Fortunato’s name, there is no answer.


a)  place – in Montresor’s house in an Italian City

b)  time- evening; carnival season

c)  weather conditions - fine

d)  social conditions- good

e)  mood or atmosphere – Montresor feels revengeful whilst Fortunato is his usual happy self


         The Point of View used in this short story is the First Person - The story is told  by the protagonist or one of the characters who interacts closely with the protagonist or other characters (using pronouns I, me, we, etc).  The reader sees the story through this person's eyes as he/she experiences it and only knows what he/she knows or feels.


         In my opinion, the literary devices used in this story are Flashback, Symbolism and Irony.

          The whole story is actually a Flashback.

         There is mention of the Montresors’ arms with the motto 'Nemo me impune lacessit'  (with the meaning “no one attacks me with impunity”) and this is a symbol of what Montresor feels towards Fortunato (Symbolism).

         For Irony, this paragraph shows the exact opposite of the hidden anger of Montresor for Fortunato:

     'Come,' I said, with decision, 'we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchresi -'


         For me, the theme Revenge is not good can be applied to this story.


         The conflict here is Internal - A struggle within one's self; a person must make some decision, overcome pain, quiet their temper, resist an urge, etc., that of Man vs. Man or Montresor vs. Fortunato - The leading character struggles with his physical strength against other men, forces of nature, or animals, and also Man vs. Himself/Herself or Montresor vs. Himself -  The leading character struggles with himself/herself; with his/her own soul, ideas of right or wrong, physical limitations, choices, etc.  --ARV


  1. such a great help :) thank you ms. Ann.. I've red your profile.. and i'm proud of you despite of what happened.

  2. Gee, that's so nice to hear. :) You're welcome and thanks, too.

  3. this is very helpful thank you soo much! If you do this with a lot of (th grade short stories it would be helpful and make your site more popular!! :D

    1. Thank you very much for the appreciation...:) You're welcome... I've always planned to add more short stories to the list but more often than not, lack of time gets in the way...

  4. Thank you so much!!!you help me a I can sleep with a peaceful mind..ty!

  5. Thank you very much maám. This helps me a lot. May God Bless you:)


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