The Cask of Amontillado
The Cask of Amontillado
by Edgar Allan Poe
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The Cask of Amontillado Theme of Drugs and Alcohol

The only literal drug we see in “The Cask of Amontillado” is wine. But there are many other drugs circulating between the lines. “Drugs,” in this story, can be anything the characters want badly enough to do awful or foolish things for. The story’s author, Edgar Allan Poe, struggled with drugs and alcohol. His struggle is carefully woven into this complicated narrative, which can be read as a gruesome allegory for addiction.

Questions About Drugs and Alcohol

  1. What is Montresor addicted to, if anything, in the story?
  2. What about Fortunato? Don’t restrict yourself to the obvious.
  3. What do you think of the first sentence of paragraphs 76 and 77? If Fortunato isn’t drunk any more, then unless Montresor snuck some wine and didn’t tell us, Montresor is sober, too. Why does Montresor take his torture of Fortunato to a new level when they are both sober?
  4. Is the story trying to tell us something about drugs and/or alcohol? If so, what are some of the possible messages?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Pride is a drug in “The Cask of Amontillado.”

Fortunato is addicted to wine; but Montresor has his drinking under control.

Next Page: Mortality
Previous Page: Betrayal

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