Poe: Character Analysis Of Poe's Red Death

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Register to read the introduction… This character can relate to Poe himself. Poe may be referring to himself, he may be thinking about what he could have done to save his wife. He may be thinking he could have locked Virginia up to keep her away from death. Poe may also be alluding to how he is trying to run from coping with her death or he is trying to run from death himself. In the story Prince Prospero has gone as far as to building a maze to keep himself away from the “Red Death”. Bettina L. Knapp describes the abbey as representing “a religious and cloistered view… an unnatural way of life.” Knapp also explains that Prince Prospero is seeking “religion’s protection by withdrawing into its confines…” This abbey could also show another way in which Poe is trying to cope with his wife’s death. He could be seeking out religion in order to cope. Or Poe may also be inferring to the things he could have done to save his wife. He may be wondering what if? What if he had been a more religious man; would that of saved his beloved wife? However, Poe may come to the conclusion to that question at the end of the story when “Red Death” strikes the people at the ball. Poe could have come to the conclusion of when death decides to come then there is no running or hiding from it. Nobody can escape death.
“The Masque of the Red Death” uses large amounts of symbols. The title of this story can be used to symbolize the massacre
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Many critics however, believe that Prospero is dreaming throughout this whole story. Hammond views the story in a dream – like state. He says the masquerade is all a “flight of the imagination from consciousness into dream and reverie.” This interpretation can be supported through Poe’s words as he described the masquerade as “a multitude of dreams” and “delirious fancies such as the madman fashions”.
Poe does not only use symbols in this story; he also uses allusions. Poe refers to Shakespeare and his work by naming is character Prince Prospero. In Shakespeare’s story “The Tempest”, Prospero is the usurped Duke of Milan, a "wizard" and the play's protagonist. Not only does Poe use Prospero as a character from Shakespeare but he may have also used “Red Death” as well. Shakespeare in the “The Tempest” also has the character Caliban who is enslaved by Prospero threatening him by saying “…the red plague rid you…” (“The Tempest” Act: 1, Scene 2). Poe also uses a quote from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” Act 3, scene 2, line 13. He uses the quote “out- Heroded Herod” (Roberts 236). “Heroded Herod” is an allusion used by both Poe and Shakespeare “Heroded Herod” in the bible is Herod the Great. The bible talks about him in Matthew, when it mentions that Herod is afraid of losing his kingdom to the newborn king (Jesus), so he orders the killing of boys in Bethlehem, age two and under (Bible, Mathew 2:1-23). This is the extreme overreaction

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