Activity Overview

Most short stories and screenplays are rich in figurative language and literary elements. These are used to enhance the symbolism, motifs, and themes within the story. The use of similes, metaphors, personification, and onomatopoeia are abundant in this Poe short story.

After reading the story, ask your students to go on a literary scavenger hunt! Give them a list of figurative language to find, and have them create a storyboard that depicts and explains the use of each literary element in the story! They will have an absolute blast and master the words by the end.

Literary Elements

Hyperbole Exaggeration or overstatement for humor or emphasis “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could...”
Metaphor An implied comparison between two things “He turned towards me, and looked into my eyes with two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication."
Foreshadowing Hinting at something that will happen later on “He had a weak point - this Fortunato - although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine.”

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 that shows five examples of literary elements in "The Cask of Amontillado," such as ironic elements.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify use of literary elements in the text.
  3. Put the type of literary element in the title box.
  4. Give an example from the text in the description box.
  5. Illustrate the example using using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/1] Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • [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


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

Literary Elements Rubric
Create a storyboard that shows different literary elements from the story.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Identification of Literary Elements
All literary elements are correctly identified.
Most literary elements are correctly identified.
Few literary elements are correctly identified.
Illustrations show attention to the details of the story and demonstrate connection to the literary elements.
Illustrations demonstrate connection to the literary elements.
Illustrations show little connection to the literary elements.
Description of Literary Elements
Descriptions clearly explain what the literary elements do to enhance the story.
Most descriptions tell what the literary elements do to enhance the story.
Descriptions are unrelated to the literary elements.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar is mostly accurate. Mistakes do not get in the way of understanding.
Spelling is very inaccurate and hinders full understanding.
Text is very difficult to understand.

How To Use Literary Elements To Enhance Themes


Introduce Literary Elements

Begin by giving simple and basic definitions and examples of literary elements to students. These literary elements are Hyperbole, Metaphors, Similes, and Foreshadowing. Teachers can highlight the importance of using these literary devices in literature and how they can be used to enhance the overall narrative of the story.


Choose Effective Symbols

Pick images that effectively convey the essence of your theme, such as things, people, or actions. These images ought to capture the essence of the theme's message and arouse feelings in your audience. Using literary elements like metaphors and similes will help make your point more symbolic.


Develop Recurrent Motifs

These patterns can be linguistic, conceptual, or graphic. Use exaggeration to highlight the significance of these patterns and alert readers to their applicability. For instance, if your theme is solitude, you may employ hyperbole like "endless solitude" to amplify the theme's emotional impact.


Use Strategic Foreshadowing

Use foreshadowing to allude to future happenings that relate to the theme. With the help of this strategy, readers can get a sense of what will happen thematically. Make vivid comparisons using similes to increase the impact of foreshadowing.


Make Meaningful Dialogues

Create conversations that explore your theme, either directly or indirectly. Give characters the freedom to express various points of view while employing metaphors and similes to create detailed verbal imagery. The depth of conversations is enhanced by these tools.

Frequently Asked Questions About "Cask of Amontillado" Literary Devices

What major literary technique is employed in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

The main literary device in "The Cask of Amontillado" is irony. The irony, both verbal and dramatic, abounds in the narrative. Characters use verbal irony when they speak in one way but mean another, frequently in a sardonic manner. When readers are aware of something that the protagonists are not, dramatic irony results. As an illustration, Montresor's toast to Fortunato's long life while plotting his murder is a classic case of verbal irony.

What part do suspense and foreshadowing play in the story?

Foreshadowing builds suspense and a sense of expectancy. The upcoming murder is hinted at by Montresor's comments regarding the family motto and the trowel he is carrying. Due to Montresor's deceptive actions and Fortunato's ignorance of them, suspense is created. The tension keeps the audience interested and wondering what will happen to Fortunato.

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