1. Has anyone ever done anything to you that made you want to get revenge on them? What did they do?
2. Have you ever gotten revenge on someone for something they did to you? What did you do to them in return? Why did you feel a need to get revenge?
3. Explain how the revenge made you feel. Did you get caught? If you had gotten caught, would that have changed the feeling the revenge gave you? Explain.
catacombs Usually, catacombs. an underground cemetery, especially one consisting of tunnels and rooms with recesses dug out for coffins and tombs. an underground passageway, especially one full of twists and turns.
virtuoso a person who has special knowledge or skill in a field.
impunity exemption from punishment. immunity from detrimental effects, as of an action.
fettered A fetter is a chain or shackle placed on the feet. Usually used in the plural - “fetters” can refer to anything that confines or restrains. Thus, “fettered” means confined or restrained, literally by a chain or shackle placed on the feet, or figuratively by something like boredom or poverty.
connoisseur a person who is especially competent to pass critical judgments in an art, particularly one of the fine arts, or in matters of taste: a connoisseur of modern art. a discerning judge of the best in any field: a connoisseur of horses.
gait a manner of walking, stepping, or running.
precluded to prevent the presence, existence, or occurrence of; make impossible: The insufficiency of the evidence precludes a conviction.
1. CHARACTERIZE Montresor. What kind of person is he? Concerned with honor – kills Fortunato over an “insult” p. 168 Cruel – taunts Fortunato by showing him the trowel (p. 171) and screaming w/him when walling him up (p. 172) Manipulative – entraps Fortunato using F’s own self-perception (p. 168); servants p. 169 Sociopathic/psychopathic – commits murder with little evidence of remorse (p. 173)
2. What might Fortunato’s name mean? Someone who is fortunate Someone who becomes successful through luck, not necessarily hard work
3. Why might Fortunato’s name be IRONIC? He is not fortunate in his interactions with Montresor, which lead to his death. This is the opposite of what we might expect for someone whose name implies good luck or fortune.
4. Give examples of IRONY in the story, including SITUATIONAL, DRAMATIC, and VERBAL IRONY. Situational: Fortunato expects Amontillado and instead receives death Dramatic: Fortunato doesn’t know he’ll be killed; but reader does, and thus gets the trowel joke (p. 171) and the cough joke (p. 170) Verbal: the compliments M pays to F; p. 171 M “implores” F to return.
5. How does not knowing what Fortunato did to Montresor intensify the horror of this story? One could imagine that Fortunato’s offense is quite minor or unintentional and that Montresor is a particularly cruel person One could imagine their own friends or acquaintances behaving like Montresor
6. Would the story be better or worse if you knew what Fortunato did to Montresor? Explain. Might be worse because Poe’s idea of what is horrifying might not match yours. Might be better if Poe manages to tap into your deepest, most secret fears.
7. Explain how Montresor’s family motto is related to the story? To the actions of Montresor? The motto translates, “No one insults me with impunity.” This shows that Montresor cannot let an insult be forgiven. He interprets it to allow/require him to kill Fortunato.
8. How does Montresor manipulate Fortunato? What CHARACTER TRAITS make Fortunato easy prey for Montresor? Fortunato is really proud of his ability to judge fine wines and is competitive with others to show his skill. He also likes to drink. Montresor appeals to Fortunato’s pride w/the story of the cask, and uses Luchresi to appeal to F’s competitive nature; he also preys on F’s drunkenness
9. What is the setting? What details of the setting contribute to the horror of this story? Italy (p. 168 – mentions Italians; names seem Italian) During the carnival season (p. 168) Probably mid-1800s as the word “millionaire” (p. 168) was coined around 1820-1830. Horror: catacombs, nitre, midnight
10. Contrast the setting in the beginning of the story with the setting where Montresor takes Fortunato. The beginning is the craziness of carnival, with costumes, colors, noise, parties; it is dusk. p. 168 The end is in the depth of Montresor’s family crypt with darkness, bones, horror; it is midnight. p. 171-172
11. Explain the MOOD of this story. Give examples from the text to support your answer. Horrifying – –Montresor toys with Fortunato, showing nitre p. 169, taunting about cough p. 170 and trowel p. 171; –Fortunato is unsteady and drunk when killed p. 171-172 –while Montresor is calculating and efficient p. 171-172
12. Who is the PROTAGONIST of this story? Justify your answer. It is Montresor He is the one pursuing a goal, even if we think it’s a negative goal The reader gets most insight into his motives and thoughts.
13. Who is the ANTAGONIST of this story? Defend your answer. It is Fortunato He is in conflict with Montresor (the protagonist) because he has insulted Montresor
14. Who is the narrator of this story? What kind of narrator is he? Montresor is the narrator First person limited (uses “I”; doesn’t give Fortunato’s thoughts May be unreliable –Doesn’t explain the “insult” –Might have pangs of conscience P. 173 “My heart grew sick; it was the dampness of the catacombs…” Why is he telling this story 50 years later? possibly deathbed confession?
15. Explain a symbol in the story. The cask of Amontillado could symbolize the wealth associated with a rare item, which motivates both characters Montresor’s coat of arms could symbolize his revenge against Fortunato’s insult Fortunato’s fool costume symbolizes his foolishness and greed
15. Explain a symbol in the story. (cont.) Carnival symbolizes a topsy turvy society that allows such a murder The catacombs symbolize Montresor’s personality, which is pleasant on the outside, but filled with death and darkness.