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Mj Narvaso

on 14 February 2016

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Edgar Allan Poe

•Born on January 19, 1809, in Boston.
•American writer, editor, and literary critic.
•Best known for his poetry and short stories,
particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre.
•Considered as the inventor of the detective fiction genre.
•The first well-known American writer tried to earn a living through writing alone.
•He switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism.
•His works influenced literature in the United •States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography.
•Best known fiction works are GOTHIC.

Theories and Approaches
Psychoanalytic Criticism
-is an approach of critical thought that follows “how and why people behave the way they do”
 can focus on one or more than one aspect of a literary work by focusing on the author, a specific character, the literary text, and even the audience that is reading the text.

* In the “The Cask of Amontillado”. Montresor’s decision to ultimately box in a living person as an act of revenge by using a cask of wine as a lure, to get his friend down into the vaults where his own family lay. 

Marxist Criticism
-views literary works as reflections of the social institutions from which they originate.-Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” is a story of revenge, but it’s more than just one man seeking justice against another. It is a representation of Poe’s personal life experiences with the upper-class as well as a symbol of the nobility versus the increasingly important lower classes. Whenever a major power begins losing influence, there’s always backlash and that’s what Montresor represented. In the end, Montresor represents the dying nobility in the world and how strongly they would fight to keep the lower classes from rising in status; however, like the scene in the catacombs where Fortunato and Montresor switch places, the lower classes will eventually take the place of the nobility.-
Elements of the Story

1.   Montresor - Protagonist
2.   Fortunato - Antagonist
a)  Introduction
At the start of this short story, Montresor narrates how he has suppressed his anger towards Fortunato  due to the “thousand injuries.” But when he is already insulted, Montresor wants revenge.
b)  Rising Action
One evening, Montresor invites the drunk Fortunato to his big house where there is nobody else because he let his attendants have the night off.  He wants Fortunato’s expertise in wine, to check the supposed Amontillado in his extensive vaults.
c)  Climax    
The story is at its peak moment when Montresor starts to cover the niche’s entrance, with Fortunato in there.
d)    Falling action 
When Fortunato realizes he is trapped, his drunkenness seems to leave him.
e)   Denouement   
Things resolve when Montresor cannot hear anymore Fortunato’s sharp cries. And when he calls out Fortunato’s name, there is no answer.


a)  place – in Montresor’s house in an Italian City
b)  time- evening; carnival season
c)  weather conditions - fine
d)  social conditions- good
e)  mood or atmosphere – Montresor feels revengeful whilst Fortunato is his usual happy self.

The Point of View used in this short story is the First Person - The story is told  by the protagonist or one of the characters who interacts closely with the protagonist or other characters (using pronouns I, me, we, etc).  The reader sees the story through this person's eyes as he/she experiences it and only knows what he/she knows or feels.
The literary devices used in this story are Flashback, Symbolismand Irony. The whole story is actually a Flashback.

 There is mention of the Montresors’ arms with the motto 'Nemo me impune lacessit'  (with the meaning “no one attacks me with impunity”) and this is a symbol of what Montresor feels towards Fortunato (Symbolism).

For Irony, this paragraph shows the exact opposite of the hidden anger of Montresor for Fortunato:

'Come,' I said, with decision, 'we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchresi -'



The short story is about Montresor as he exacts his revenge against Fortunato for an unnamed insult. Poe uses vengeful and retaliatory nature of Montresor as a symbol of a real world upper-class that will fight in order to keep the power and status.
The first paragraph of the story delineates the conflict between the characters arising from their social roles.
The conflict between the social roles may have come from Poe’s personal experience with social classes.


The moral which seems to pervade the whole story and to make it seem universally applicable might be expressed as this: We should always be very careful about how we treat others. It is very easy to offend another person inadvertently, and a single offense by word, or act, or even a look, can damage a relationship irreparably. Other people are just as sensitive as we are.
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