In the short story, "The Cask of Amontillado", how does Edgar Allan Poe use the 5 senses of literature?

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Jessica Akcinar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In any setting, the five senses are taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing. In terms of literature, imagery is descriptions of something in terms of the five senses. Imagery forms mental pictures of things through the use of words.

There is lots of imagery in "The Cask of Amontillado," from the descriptions of the characters to the setting. For instance, while descending into the catacombs, Monstressor continuously points out how uncomfortable it is down there. He uses words like "damp," "moisture," and "foulness"  and similes such as "the niter hangs like moss" which make the reader imagine what it smells, feels, and looks like in the underground tomb.  Poe also strengthens the imagery in the story by describing the sounds of Forunato's bells ("jingled"), his cough ("Ugh! ugh! ugh!...), his laugh ("Ha! ha! ha!-he! he!"), as well as his screams at the end of the story ("For the love of God, Montressor!"). Through his use of imagery, Poe helps the reader imagine what is happening in the story. This heightens the suspense of the story and the horror of the protagonist's actions.

William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Poe also appeals to the reader's sense of taste by all his references to wine. Fortunato can imagine the taste of the Amontillado, and the reader also imagines what it must taste like. It would taste like an especially fine sherry. The story was originally published in a ladies' magazine, and sherry might be the only liquor that ladies of Poe's time would be acquainted with. Montresor also offers his victim two French wines while they are underground. He specifies that they are "Medoc" and "De Grave." But it is probably the imaginary taste of the nonexistent Amontillado that has the strongest appeal to the reader's taste sense. No doubt many readers over the years have bought a bottle of Amontillado to satisfy their curiosity or as a sort of homage to Edgar Allan Poe.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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