Activity Overview

One of the most taught literary terms is irony. In both fiction and in life, irony is all around. Common types of irony are: verbal, situational, and dramatic. It is critical that students distinguish between each type as they read. Asking students to create storyboards that depict each type of irony makes teaching these elements a breeze.

Poe is a master of using irony in his work, and often just one type at a time. Students will enjoy identifying the use of irony in "The Cask of Amontillado.

Verbal Irony

"I shall not die of a cough"

A prime example of verbal irony in "The Cask of Amontillado" is when an unsuspecting Fortunato is being led to his death by his former acquaintance, Montresor. As Montresor lures him into the catacombs, he questions Fortunato about his well-being. Montresor notices Fortunato has a cough, which is growing more severe the farther down the catacombs they travel. He asks if Fortunato would like to turn back. Fortunato replies, “I shall not die of a cough.” Montresor knowingly replies, “True – true.” The audience finds out at the end that this was in fact use of verbal irony. Montresor appeared to mean that the cough was harmless, but what he was also saying was that he planned to kill Fortunato.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard depicting the types of irony used in "The Cask of Amontillado."

  1. Use the template provided by your teacher.
  2. Identify the types of irony used.
  3. Describe the definition of the type of irony.
  4. Illustrate the set up, the dialogue, and the reveal of the irony using important .

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/3] Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/5] Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/6] Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Types of Irony Rubric
25 Points
21 Points
17 Points
Try Again
13 Points
Three Types of Irony:
  • Dramatic
  • Verbal
  • Situational
  • Student followed the task for this assignment. They included three different forms of irony, and correctly explained them.
    Student has two forms of irony displayed and correctly explained.
    Student only has two or three types displayed, but not correctly supported
    Work attempts to show irony however, it's unclear or only presents one type.
    Provides Irony Using Direct Quotes
    The student has clearly provided the reader with three different examples of irony and they are clearly explained in an exemplary way.
    Student clearly provided the reader with two examples of irony. However, the examples may not be exemplary.
    Student has identified one or two weak example of irony.
    Student has not identified irony in the story through use of direct quotations.
    Understand the Effect of Irony Through explanation
    Student has provided a clear example of the effect of all three types of irony and explained in great detail.
    Student has provided explanations of the effect of the irony for two or three examples of irony in sufficient detail.
    Student has attempted to provide an explanation of the effect of one or two example(s) of irony in limited detail.
    Student did not provide any explanations of irony from the reading.
    Overall Presentation:
  • Grammar
  • Mechanics
  • Correctness
  • Appeal
  • Student has no errors and the work is commendable.
    Student has very few errors. Good effort has been displayed.
    Student has some mechanical issues; little effort is shown; somewhat appealing; partially incomplete.
    Student has grammar, mechanic or correctness issues that prohibit the understanding of Irony; or incomplete; visually unappealing.

    How To Facilitate Discussion on Types of Irony


    Introduction Irony and its Types

    Start by outlining what irony is and the various forms it might take. Describe how an ironic situation contains a difference between what is anticipated and what actually happens. After some basic introduction, highlight three different types of irony. Teachers can provide simple definitions of verbal, situational, and dramatic irony.


    Engage With Examples

    Give the students samples of each sort of irony and ask them to identify it and explain why it falls under that category. Discuss how each type affected the event or story. Teachers can use examples from the literature that students might be familiar with or explore real-life examples.


    Make Comparisons

    Compare and contrast several forms of irony with your students. How do their impacts on narrative compare to one another and how do they differ from one another? Students can also use Venn Diagrams to bring the comparisons to a visual form and make multiple comparisons at a time.


    Apply the Concepts

    Give examples or brief paragraphs where irony is discernible. Students should examine and debate the type of irony being used in pairs or groups. Students can also apply these concepts to already read stories and essays.


    Reflect and Analyze

    Ask the students to consider the value of adopting irony in storytelling as you draw the conversation to a close. Describe how irony can improve a reader's comprehension, interest, and emotional connection to a story.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Irony in "The Cask of Amontillado"

    How does the story employ verbal irony?

    A disparity between what is spoken and what is meant constitutes verbal irony. Verbal irony is demonstrated in the narrative through Montresor's approach to Fortunato, who is shown to be kind and caring. While covertly plotting to kill Fortunato, Montresor poses as his friend.

    Provide an illustration of situational irony in the narrative

    Situational irony happens when a situation's result differs from what is anticipated. Fortunato's assurance in his wine knowledge and failure to recognize that he is being led to his own death in the catacombs are two instances of situational irony in the novel.

    What part does dramatic irony play in the story's suspense?

    Dramatic irony heightens the tension in "The Cask of Amontillado." The tension mounts with each step Montresor makes to bring Fortunato into the tombs since, as readers, we are aware of his nefarious plan. We are anticipating Fortunato's coming demise, but he is still unaware, which creates this suspense.

    What irony is demonstrated by the story's resolution?

    Since Montresor confesses his guilt to an unidentified audience fifty years after the incident, the story's conclusion is ironic. The fact that he is telling the story of his ideal retaliation while remaining anonymous and unrepentant adds to the satirical tone of the story as a whole.

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