Edger Allen Poe’s chilling tale about insult and revenge was first published in 1846. Though the feeling of horror that the story evokes is timeless, the language is not. Our “Cask of Amontillado” summary rap not only reviews the key elements of the story, but it also helps you understand some of the old-fashioned language in the original.
Here’s a small snippet of the lyrics from our song, where Montresor, the narrator, thinks his friend Fortunato has insulted him one too many times and vows revenge:
The “thousand injuries” that I have endured
Due to “Fortunato” – and “I bore them as best as I could”
“But when he ventured upon insult
I vowed revenge”
“YOU – who know the nature of my soul most”, my friend
Know that it is not a “threat” – for all his tomfoolery
Not only will I punish him
But with full “impunity”
In other words scot-free
Patiently awaiting the day he does not breathe.
Visit the video page, and click on the lyrics to get definitions for some of these challenging words.
After watching the video, take a minute to think about what you heard. Montresor’s family motto is, “Nemo me impune lacessit,” or “No one insults me with impunity.” Given Montresor’s family motto, were you surprised at his actions? Do you think that Fortunato deserved such a gruesome fate?