45 pages 1 hour read

Edgar Allan Poe

The Cask of Amontillado

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1846

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“The Cask of Amontillado”

  • Genre: Fiction; short story; Gothic horror
  • Originally Published: 1846
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 1100-1300L; grades 9-12
  • Structure/Length: Approx. 6-8 pages; approx. 30 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: Montresor, the narrator, tells the audience that he has been planning revenge on his acquaintance Fortunato, who has apparently insulted Montresor in some way. Montresor sees an opportunity when Fortunato has been drinking heavily and lures him into a catacomb to put his plan into action.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Sadistic violence; death; racism (protagonist’s black mask may allude to racist tropes of darkness and evil)

Edgar Allan Poe, Author

  • Bio: 1809-1849; American writer known for his dark and macabre tales; faced tragedy early in life, losing both parents by the age of three; his famous works, such as “The Raven” and “The Fall of the House of Usher,” often explored themes of death, madness, and the human psyche; pioneered the genres of horror and detective fiction, leaving a lasting impact on literature before his untimely death at age 40
  • Other Works: “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839); “The Pit and the Pendulum” (1842); “The Tell-Tale Heart” (1843); “The Raven” (1845)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • A Vow of Revenge
  • Deception and Devious Calculation
  • Death and Morbidity