"The Cask of Amontillado" Themes

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for The Cask of Amontillado


Cask of Amontillado Theme

Example



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Activity Overview


Themes, symbols, and motifs are valuable aspects of any literary work, and they add richness to stories. Part of the Common Core ELA standards is to introduce and explain these complex concepts. However, abstract ideas are often difficult for students to analyze without assistance. Using a storyboard, students can visually demonstrate their understanding of these concepts, and master analysis of literary elements. For best practices, see our supplementary article with specific lesson plan steps on setting up your classroom and activities to teach themes, symbols, and motifs.

In the classroom, students can track the rich symbolism Poe uses to send a strong lesson to readers in order to gain a deeper understanding of the story.


Themes, Motifs, and Imagery to Look for and Discuss

Names

Poe employs irony in many of his works. A specific example in this story is the name "Fortunato", which means the "fortunate one" in Italian. Despite his name, Fortunato's fate is certainly unfortunate.


Carnivals and Masquerades

These events set the scene for many of Poe’s horror stories. In "Cask", the setting of Carnival takes on a double meaning. Typically Carnival is a time of happiness and social gathering. However, it is also a time of disguises and trickery. Montresor uses these motifs to his advantage as he lures Fortunato to his death with a bottle of wine.


The Voice of the Dead

Death is a recurring motif that Poe favors in his works and their messages. Poe uses the story of Fortunato’s death to ask the question, "Is revenge always justified?" Notice how Poe never tells the reader what it was that Fortunato did or said, Montresor simply states that he was insulted. This leaves the reader to question justification of Montresors’ actions.



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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in "Cask of Amontillado". Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from "Cask of Amontillado" you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.

Template: Theme

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Rubric

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