Teaching The Cask of Amontillado
Take a drink of Shmoop.
We have a few (non-alcohol, classroom-friendly) mixers to go with Cask of Amontillado, which will make it go down a little more smoothly.
In this guide you will find
- an activity playing with narrative perspective.
- a reading quiz to be sure students know who’s burying whom.
- discussion questions exploring the story’s heady symbolism.
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Instructions for You
Objective: "The Cask of Amontillado" is narrated by a murderer and told from his perspective. In this activity students consider the multiple relevant perspectives at stake in the story and employ one of them to retell the tale. Students answer critical questions about the story, participate in classroom discussion, and write an creative retelling of the story from Fortunato's perspective of being buried alive.
Teachers can expect to spend about 30-50 minutes on classroom discussion and possibly one or two more class periods for students to present original work.
Step 1: Pose the following question to your students: consider the perspective through which Poe chose to tell "The Cask of Amontillado." What are some possible reasons why he chose to focus on the murderer's point of view?
Step 2: Have student brainstorm in groups. Ask them to think about what would change if the point of view changed and what effect the point of view has on the story (characters, plot, themes, symbols, etc.).
And now for the prompt:
Rewrite "The Cask of Amontillado" from Fortunato's unfortunate point of view. As you work on your piece, be sure to mirror the story with respect to symbols (for example, what imagery and motifs would be significant to the victim in this last moments alive), themes, and other plot devices.
Step 3: [Optional] Students present their stories to the class or in small groups.
(California English Language Arts Standards Met: 9th & 10th grade Reading 1.1, 1.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.11; Writing 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 1.9, 2.2, 2.3; 11th & 12th grade Reading 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 2.5, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4; Writing 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.9, 2.2.)
Instructions for Your Students
Take two! Feel like "The Cask of Amontillado" is a little one-sided (what with it being told from the murderer's perspective)? Wondering what exactly Fortunato was thinking, feeling, eeking about during the story? Well, here's your chance to set the record straight and retell the story from the perspective of a…um…less crazy person.
Step 1: Consider the perspective through which Poe chose to tell "The Cask of Amontillado." What are some possible reasons why he chose to focus on the murderer's point of view?
Step 2: Write a creative retelling of the story from Fortunato's perspective of being buried alive.
Prompt: Rewrite "The Cask of Amontillado" from Fortunato's unfortunate point of view. As you work on your piece, be sure to mirror the story with respect to symbols (for example, what imagery and motifs would be significant to the victim in this last moments alive), themes, and other plot devices.
Need some help? Check out these Shmoop resources:
- "Cask of Amontillado" narrator point of view
- "Cask of Amontillado" themes
- "Cask of Amontillado" symbolism
- "Cask of Amontillado" quotes
- "Cask of Amontillado" characters: Fortunato
Step 3: [Optional] Present your story to the class or in small groups.
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Common Core Standards
The following standards are covered in this course:CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1