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Themes

“The Cask of Amontillado” has a frightening fixation on death, corpses, and bones. Edgar Allan Poe’s last short story, written only a few years before his death, is a precise and compact expression of anxieties concerning mortality. But don’t worry – Poe injects plenty of humor into all the doom and gloom. And in the end, we all feel a little happier to be alive.

Questions About Mortality

  1. Does “The Cask of Amontillado” make you think about your own mortality? If so, what are some of the thoughts it provokes?
  2. Why do you think Montresor chooses that specific way to kill Fortunato? If he had stabbed Fortunato instead, or fed him some poisonous wine, how might the story be different?
  3. How do you feel about the descriptions of the Montresor family catacomb, and the crypts within it? Do you get clear images, or are things murky? Either way, how does this contribute to or detract from the story as a whole?

Chew on This

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

It’s ironic that, for Montresor to enjoy his own life, he has to take Fortunato’s.

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