Analysis Of Edgar Allan Poe 's ' The Masque Of The Red Death '

1991 Words Dec 2nd, 2015 null Page
A Worthy Way to Live and Die According to Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe is known for his masterful writing on all aspects of mortality and death, but his famous short story “The Masque of the Red Death” proves to be more than a simple story about death. While it is about death, Poe’s short story can be read and applied as a cautionary tale whose purpose is to illustrate a worthy way to live and die by portraying the opposite of both. This interpretation comes about when the story is viewed through the lens of New Criticism. This viewpoint shows how the story uses its formal elements to create one complex theme. While complex, the parts of the theme converge to form one overlapping theme to take away from the story and the creation of a theme that is unified awards Poe’s story as one that contains organic unity. Poe’s short story develops its theme through the use of paradox, tension, irony and ambiguity, all of which comes together to identify death as an unavoidable part of the human experience and to illustrate the proper way to cope with this grim understanding using the death of Prospero and his peers.
Paradox finds its place in the story within the character of Prospero. The host of the party and leader of the revelries is paradoxical in his reasoning. His lavish house is built up as a fortress to withstand the destruction of disease that “had long devastated the country” (Poe 269). This lavish stronghold is Prospero’s own attempt to avoid death. The party occurring…

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