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Building Schema: Edgar Allan Poe & The Cask of Amontillado"

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S McFaul-Amadoro

on 8 October 2015

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Transcript of Building Schema: Edgar Allan Poe & The Cask of Amontillado"

Edgar Allan Poe & "The Cask of Amontillado"
Building Schema
*Developed several characters whose sanity is questionable!
*Father of “the short story” genre.
*His father abandoned the family, and his mother died when Poe was two.
*Poe was adopted afterwards.
*Poe gambled in college.
Edgar Allan Poe
*Married his cousin who was 13.
*Poe’s brother died of TB.
*Poe’s wife died of TB.
*Most of Poe’s story deal with death, murder, and even cannibalism!
*The poem “The Raven” is Poe’s most acclaimed work.
*People said that Poe died from an opium overdose, but a recent DNA test showed that he died of rabies.
Poe is NOT the narrator in “The Cask of Amontillado.”

The story is the narrator’s account of his revenge on someone that offended him.
"The Cask of Amontillado"
Time and location work together to create this macabre text.

Macabre: look up right now. Write down the definition!
A secular holiday, evolved from Christian’s Lent.
Lent = 40 days of fasting prior to Easter.
Fasting = no meat.

Today’s fasting = not partaking in something one enjoys.
In anticipation of the very serious and solemn Lent, Carnival came about.

Carnival = excessive and extreme behaviors
i.e. binge eating & drunkenness, etc. (similar to Mardi Gras)in order to bid farewell to meat eating (and merriment).

People party in the streets and masquerade (costumes & masks).
Carn (flesh/meat) + val (farewell)
Excess indulgence + costumed (hidden/disguised personas)
= lowered inhibitions
If everyone is partying, who would notice a crime?
The story takes place during the “supreme madness” of the celebrations.
Key References
a large imposing building like a museum or a place of residence (especially in Italy).
a potassium nitrate salt (once called saltpeter.
Saltpeter is sal(salt) + petrae(rock).
Literally=salt of the rock.
Nitre encrusted on an ancient jar
Ancient catacombs in Rome
Trowel: hand tool used by brick masons.
Flagon or vase DeGrave (a type of wine).
A cask of wine.
two definitions:

1. A member of the fraternity of Freemasons, a worldwide fraternal organization.
2. One whose occupation is to build with stone or brick; also, one who prepares stone for building purposes.
Think about the people who join fraternities, and the people who build with brick and work with their hands.
The family arms:
“A huge foot d’or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.”
“Nemo me impune lacessit” “No one provokes me with impunity.”

Colloquial translation into more modern English:
“No one messes with me
and gets away with it."
Family motto:
The narrator plans to enact his revenge in the catacombs beneath his estate.
Catacombs = Cities of the Dead
Lies far beneath the city.
5-6 MILLION people’s bones are in the Paris Catacombs.
Bodies of people who could not afford proper burials were moved from cemeteries and dumped in the catacombs.
Bones are piled in heaps that line the walls. Some are in stacks.Some bones are fashioned into macabre configurations. (Like a cross made from femur bones.)
Paris Catacombs
Paris was overcrowded at the end of the 18th century.
There was a HUGE amount of filth, disease, and death.
Cemeteries began to overflow!
Proper burial became impossible.
Some bodies were merely covered with a thin layer of dirt.
This led to horrific smells permeating the city.
=find an alternative
$$ Got Money? $$
It wasn’t unusual for the wealthy to have their own catacombs under their estates. Their own family members would be placed there.
Wine is also stored in catacombs because the temperature remains constantly cool year round (good for wine).
Do some research.
there are some great sites with information on the Paris catacombs.

When you have an opportunity to travel to Paris, you can take a tour of the catacombs!
The Freemasons symbol
On to the story!!
Full transcript