“The Cask of Amontillado” Themes: Quotes from the Cask of Amontillado

"Cask of Amontillado" Lesson Plans

The “Cask of Amontillado” Unit Plan includes an annotated copy of the story, lesson plans aligned to the common core, graphic organizer handouts with answer keys, essay rubrics, a quiz, and more.

Before you read my clever introduction, here’s a Cask of Amontillado quotations writing assignment: Quotations Writing Assignment for Cask of Amontillado

THE thousand lesson plans of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon teaching “The Cask of Amontillado” themes without quotes from “The Cask of Amontillado,” I vowed revenge. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitely, settled –but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only create my own “Cask of Amontillado” theme analysis with quotes from ‘The Cask of Amotillado, but I must share it with everyone in the school not named Fortunato and then lure him into the janitor’s closet with a promise of help with “Cask of Amontillado” themes.

Then when he least suspects it, I’ll tie him up with mop heads and build a wall of Lysol bottles so nobody will ever find him.

So whatever you do, don’t share these “Cask of Amontillado” theme quotes with Fortunato.

Cask of Amontillado ThemesQuote: “His eyes flashed with a fierce light. He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand.”

Theme: The Effects of Alcohol: The Illusion of Freedom

Analysis: Fortunato’s alcohol binge during Carnival has “freed” him from his inhibition as indicated by his behavior. What his alcohol binge has actually done is lead him to his death. Fortunato’s heavy drinking has blurred his judgment and his overwhelming desire for the Amontillado compounds the bad judgment.

Cask of Amontillado ThemesQuote: “A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite.”

Theme: The Effects of Alcohol(ism): The Loss of Freedom

Analysis: Fortunato’s weakness for alcohol has doomed him. After being fettered to the granite, Fortunato no longer has control of his fate. Ironically, Fortunato is too stunned to realize it, much in the same way those with alcohol and drug problems are unable to see their “imprisonment.”

Cask of Amontillado ThemesQuote: “Come,” I said, with decision, “we will go back; your health is precious.”

Theme: Stupid Choices/The Loss of Agency and Freedom

Analysis: There are several instances when Fortunato is free to choose a different path. Fortunato, however, has been enslaved by his desire for alcohol and no longer has the freedom to resist.

Knife, Revenge, Emblem, Bird, EagleQuote: “THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.”

Theme: Revenge

Analysis: What a great start to a great story. The “insult” is never specified. This might perhaps be because it doesn’t matter or one might speculate that the insult might seem minor to the listener. One thing is certain: We’re about to be treated to a tale of revenge. Montresor attempts to make himself look good, having withstood “the thousand injuries of Fortunato.”

Cask of Amontillado ThemesQuote: “A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.”

Theme: Revenge

Analysis: Montresor establish his criteria for successful revenge. I wrote about that in a brilliant blog post.

Cask of Amontillado ThemesQuote: “My heart grew sick; it was the dampness of the catacombs that made it so.”

Theme: Insanity

Analysis: So, let’s get this straight: Montresor has buried alive another human being, a friend, on account of an unnamed insult. And his heart grows sick, a natural reaction, I suppose, one might have after burying another human being alive—oh wait, “it was the dampness of the catacombs that made it so.” OK.

A Glass Of, Wine, Alcohol, White WineQuote: “In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack–but in the matter of old wines he was sincere.”

Theme: Truth vs. Reality

Analysis: It’s hard to take anyone seriously who makes negative generalized statements about an entire race of people. Calling all Italians quacks makes Montresor look petty and unreliable. There’s a good chance Fortunato was actually more skilled tan Montresor at these things. There’s also a good chance this entire story is a lie.

Cask of Amontillado ThemesQuote: The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells.

Theme: Revenge

Analysis: Montresor has taken his revenge well beyond the confines of a walled up room in a catacomb. He wastes no opportunity to make Fortunato look like a fool, including his ridiculous attire. Montresor also spends the entire narrative showing the listener just how clever his actions were.

Quote: “I said to him –“My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day. But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts.””

Theme: Flattery is of the devil.

Analysis: Montresor uses flattery and reverse psychology throughout in order to lure Fortunato to his death. Not the first time a man has used flattery to lead someone on. There are other images that make Montresor seem diabolic, like the torches, the robes, the fact they’re wandering about underground tombs.

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