What two literary elements would be the easiest to flesh out in an essay over The Cask of Amontillado by Poe?

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auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would like to expound upon setting for a moment.  It's a perfect symmetry and interconnectedness which Poe creates between setting and meaning.  It's layered and it's complex.  He doesn't just creat spooky, dark places for spooky, dark stories.  Instead, he places his characters here in Carnival above ground--a place and time of revelry and partying--as contrasted with the evil and murderous activities below ground.  It's masterful.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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How about the reliability of the narrator?  Is it possible that Fortunato never committed any wrong against Montresor?  Is it all in his mind?  Is he a reliable narrator or is he just crazy?  Is Fortunato the only one under the influence of something?  How likely is it that we can believe what Montreso is telling us before he meets his foe, and then, as he taunts Fortunato with hints of his future...are these the rantings of madman or is it justice being served?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Always Edgar Allan Poe offers a great study of the singleness of focus in a short story.  Embellishing this singleness of focus are what Poe terms "arabesques."  This word arabesque means "a fancifully combined pattern."  This pattern of returning to the initial disturbing idea is definitely repeated in "The Cask of Amontillado" as Montresor returns over and over to his deceptive concern for the unhealthiness of the catacombs to which his victim is exposed, thus deluding Fortunato so that he casts away any caution and is, then, tethered easily to a wall and then imprisoned so that Montesor can complete his dastardly deed of murder.

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drmonica | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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How about point of view? Poe uses the classic "unreliable narrator" technique, of which he is the master. Montresor is completely emotionless, relating the story of a horrifying crime of his own commission.

Another element you could discuss is the setting. The description provides several Gothic elements, yet the specific place and time are not specified.

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Irony is certainly one.  You can discuss Poe's use of verbal irony when Montresor talks to Fortunato about being a mason (is he a brick layer or a member of a secret society that deals with the macabre?).  You could also discuss situational irony--on a night of festivities, a man meets his death in a dark cellar; Fortunato's name means "fortunate," but he is unlucky in his fate.  There are several other examples.

You could also discuss Poe's use of the Gothic style.  He sets the story in an almost deserted house (Montresor has released his servants for the night), accomplishing a mysterious setting, especially as Fortunato accompanies Montresor down into the catacombs.  The story is also Gothic in its focus on death.  Fortunato is buried alive in a place that is used to bury corpses (the catacombs).  Likewise, Poe's suspension of reality for effect's sake is evident throughout this typical Gothic tale.  Would Fortunato really be so stupid to accompany Montresor down into the dark tombs?

Hope this helps.

 

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elsntoque | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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What two literary elements would be the easiest to flesh out in an essay over The Cask of Amontillado by Poe?

What two literary elements would be the easiest to flesh out in an essay over The Cask of Amontillado by Poe?

First, talk about the characterization. Characterization is the process of analyzing the profound characteristics of the characters. Sometimes authors don't clearly put a clear identity or attitude to their characters. Given this, you can analyze the true color  of the characters through their use of words, the way they decide or think, their actions, and the description given by the other characters. You can compare and contrast Fortunato and Montresor.

Second, this literary piece is so full of Irony. Irony is divided into three types: the verbal irony, dramatic irony, and the situational irony. Cask of Amontillado is so rich of verbal irony, the irony of words. For instance, the character says one thing but means the other thing. Montresor did this. He said to Fortunato:

"Come," I said, with decision, "we will go back; your health is precious.

"And I to your long life."

There are more. But you see, he said these although he really wanted Fortunato to die.

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deb617 | eNotes Newbie

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1. Irony...all over the place (dramatic and verbal)
2. Imagery...many "quotable" passages that appeal to the reader on a sensory level
3. building of suspense.... Consider their descent into the catacombs...."We passed through a range of low arches, descended, passed on, and descending again, arrived at a deep crypt".....consider how Montressor builds the wall tier by tier by tier....

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The elements of point of view, imagery, and diction come to mind. Also setting, which is wonderfully mysterious.

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ichbinzwei | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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Irony is certainly one.  You can discuss Poe's use of verbal irony when Montresor talks to Fortunato about being a mason (is he a brick layer or a member of a secret society that deals with the macabre?).  You could also discuss situational irony--on a night of festivities, a man meets his death in a dark cellar; Fortunato's name means "fortunate," but he is unlucky in his fate.  There are several other examples.

You could also discuss Poe's use of the Gothic style.  He sets the story in an almost deserted house (Montresor has released his servants for the night), accomplishing a mysterious setting, especially as Fortunato accompanies Montresor down into the catacombs.  The story is also Gothic in its focus on death.  Fortunato is buried alive in a place that is used to bury corpses (the catacombs).  Likewise, Poe's suspension of reality for effect's sake is evident throughout this typical Gothic tale.  Would Fortunato really be so stupid to accompany Montresor down into the dark tombs?

Hope this helps.

 

thx, you've restored to me hope in the internet =)

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