Death Themes In The Masque Of The Red Death

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Looking into the Eyes of Death Is it possible to escape death if one truly ignores it and believes they can, or are we all doomed to an untimely demise. These statements are a main premise for the story of “The Masque of the Red Death”. “The Masque of the Red death” by Edgar Allen Poe is a thrilling, mysterious, and captivating story about an oblivious prince and a disease that is wiping his kingdom much similar to the Black Plague. Prince Prospero hears the news of a disastrous epidemic spreading and quickly shuts the doors to his castle and ignores the pleas of his people. He throws a “never ending” party and invites the richest of his friends, and welds the doors shut so no one can leave. Little does he know that when a masked man comes …show more content…
In “Masque of the Red Death”, the story maintains a strong mortality theme. People are dying all over the kingdom from a horrible disease, and even though the richest attempt their hardest to avoid it, no death can be avoided as proved by the end. The quote, “The "Red Death" had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous.”(pg) is used as the very first line of the story. Right away Poe is warning the reader of the state of the country’s people. By setting the story in such a hardship, death is already expected and used throughout the story as well. Poe goes on in the first paragraph to describe just how devastating of a disease it is when he is saying “Blood was its Avatar and its seal --the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.” (pg). These gruesome details describe the reality of the horror people were going through, and can be used as reasoning behind Prospero’s desperateness to hide away from it. The richest of the kingdom including Prospero chose to ignore death, almost as if it were not …show more content…
The theme of death and mortality is often played by Poe, like in “The Cask of Amontillado” or “The Tell-Tale Heart”. In each story someone or multiple people die vicious ways. The difference between those stories and this one is the fact that in those stories people are murdered by a single man. Even though the Red Death symbolizes the appearance of a man, he is not one. Symbolism also plays a part in those stories like this one. In the ‘Tell-Tale Heart” the heart that keeps beating symbolizes the killer’s guilty conscience for killing the old man. If he was not driven mad by the heart, he would have gotten away with murder. In “The Cask of Amontillado” the name “Fortunato” itself is symbolism. The name means lucky, but Fortunato finds himself unlucky when he falls victim to Montresor’s revenge. Death finds itself in all of these stories and death finds itself in everyday life too. Millions die an inescapable death everyday from murder, disease, and natural causes. Everyone, one way or another, will die. Immortality simply does not exist. As people we must chose to embrace our demise, to truly appreciate our life or we will find ourselves constantly hiding from the

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