The Cask of Amontillado

Edgar Allan Poe

Highlights of American Literature

edited by Dean Curry, based on a core manuscript by Carl Bode

Poe believed that strangeness was an essential ingredient of beauty, and his writing is often exotic. His stories and poems are populated with doomed, introspective aristocrats. These gloomy characters never seem to work or socialize; instead they bury themselves in dark, moldering castles symbolically decorated with bizarre rugs and draperies that hide the real world of sun, windows, walls and floors. The hidden rooms reveal ancient libraries, strange art works, and eclectic oriental objects. The aristocrats play musical instruments or read ancient books while they brood on tragedies, often the death of loved ones.

Themes of death-in-life, especially being buried alive or returning like a vampire from the grave, appear in many of his works, including "The Premature Burial," "Ligeia," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Fall of the House of Usher."

VanSpanckeren, 1994: 41

Outline of American Literature, USIA

contents ••• title page ••• author ••• pre-story ••• in-story ••• exercises ••• follow-up