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.
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.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a storyboard depicting the types of irony used in "The Cask of Amontillado."
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
| Excellent |
| Proficient |
| Emerging |
| Try Again |
Three Types of Irony:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.