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“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe. Cultural Literacy and Background for Understanding. “…but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.” “The Cask of Amontillado” is the narrator’s account of his ability to carry out a chilling plot of revenge against his offender.

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the cask of amontillado by edgar allan poe

“The Cask of Amontillado”by Edgar Allan Poe

Cultural Literacy

and

Background for Understanding

slide2

“…but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.”“The Cask of Amontillado” is the narrator’s account of his ability to carry out a chilling plot of revenge against his offender.

slide3

Precision in time, place, and setting preclude the idea of risk and allow the narrator both the retribution he seeks and the impunity he demands.

carnival1
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.
carnival2
CARNIVAL
  • Traditionally, the fasting during Lent involves abstaining from eating meat.
  • Modern interpretations of fasting may involve abstaining from anything one enjoys.
carn val
Carn + Val

FLESH (Meat) + FAREWELL

In 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).

what happens during carnival
What happens during Carnival?
  • Carnival is a time of EXCESS and INDULGENCE.
  • BINGEING upon food and alcohol is common.
slide13
The combination of alcohol and costumes creates an atmosphere where people tend to let down their inhibitions.
slide16

“The Cask of Amontillado” is set during the “supreme madness” of Carnival. In such a riotous atmosphere, it is easy to see how a crime could go unnoticed.

lifestyles of the rich

Lifestyles of the Rich

Circa 1700-1800

slide22
Vineyards, where the grapes for producing wine are grown, create picturesque settings for owners’ estates.
slide25
The narrator plans for his revenge to take place in the catacombs beneath his estate.What are catacombs?
slide27
At a certain point in European history, catacombs, underground burial chambers, became a viable alternative to cemeteries.
slide29
Catacombs are characterized by extensive tunnels leading to chambers or recesses where the dead repose for eternity.
slide36
The narrator of “The Cask of Amontillado” carries out his revenge within the catacombs beneath his palazzo.
slide37

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 thel’s in tortilla.)

slide38

The “supreme madness” of Carnival aside, why doesn’t the suggestion of a journey to the catacombs for a taste of wine seem odd or suspicious to the victim?

slide40
For wines to maintain their best quality, they need to be stored at fairly cool and constant temperatures.
slide42

During the time period in which the story is set, modern electric refrigeration was not available. To protect wine collections, connoisseurs adopted the practice of storing wines under the ground where temperatures remain ideal year-round.

slide43
Basements, cellars, and even catacombs served as excellent storage facilities for the precious vintages.
slide45
Herein, where wine bottles intermingle with the bones of the dead, the narrator carries out his plan for revenge.
edgar allan poe
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.

slide50

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.” www.triggur.org.Presentation assembled by Brooke Allen:www.wcboe.k12.md.us/.../The%20Cask%20of%20Amontillado.ppt -