The Masque Of The Red Death Essay

Superior Essays
The Red Death Redemption Over the centuries, several fatal diseases have come and gone and left several countries in ruins. Diseases such as leprosy, measles, Ebola, and tuberculosis have wiped out towns in the matters of months. Though, the darkest and most murderous illness came in the 1300s and wiped out twenty-five percent of Europe’s population. That odious sickness was the bubonic plague, also known as the “Red Death”. In the short story, “The Masque of the Red Death”, Edgar Allan Poe utilizes symbols such as the clock, the Red Death, and the seven colored rooms to reveal that no one can escape mortality; they definitely cannot escape the brutal bubonic plague. In the short story “The Masque of the Red Death”, Edgar Allan Poe …show more content…
The Red Death represents the disease’s limitless sovereignty over the partygoers, and how it killed them all. In the end of the short story, Poe describes how “…darkness and decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all” (Poe 452). The darkness and decay are words used to describe the result of the Red Death’s complete control over the partygoers’ lives. This excerpt illustrates how the disease will find everyone, even if they are hiding in a fortified abbey, and infect them. The Red Death also represents how death is abrupt and an unwelcome guest. In the story, “The figure who appears at the masquerade as the Red Death represents the outside of the tale… And if the figure represents the Red Death, so has everyone that has ventured within the precincts of the west room…; presumably, each individual sees the others with him as either the representation of the Red Death or a representation of its victims” (Roth 1). Roth recognizes the Red Death as a symbol of the outside of the story because his intrusion and disruptions are out of bounds. However, the partygoers in this story see the figure as a representation of Red Death or its victims because it enters the black room – which is a creepy room that is rarely entered – without a second thought and it scares everyone. The Red Death leads directly to the theme that death is inescapable. According to one …show more content…
To begin with, Poe describes the decorations that are outside and within the black room to show how creepy the room is. The seventh chamber had windows that were “…of stained glass whose color varied in accordance with the prevailing hue of decorations of the chamber into which it opened…The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls… there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all” (Poe 448-449). The black room was filled with decorations and had tapestries that blacked out any light, to represent the darkness caused by death. Many of the individuals in the abbey were so intimidated by its deadly characteristics that they refused to enter it. Secondly, the seven different colored chambers are arranged in an order symbolic to the stages of life. In a literary analysis, the author states how “…the seven differently colored rooms which are arranged from east to west, and in which the masque takes place, are composed in the form of a symbolic teleology of human life which leads from the color blue to the color black, from light to darkness, from creation to destruction” (Zapf 1). Zapf recognizes the color blue as a symbol of God’s creation of the bright, blue skies, which happened at the beginning of time. Then, the color black is recognized as a symbol of

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    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.…

    • 1165 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Prince Prospero uses his wealth as self-defense to conceal with his fellow superiorities in his abbeys because “The ‘Red Death’ had long devastated the country” ( Poe 1). His narrator 's vagueness leads to confusion, for the country that the unknown plague is destroying is also unknown. The idea immerses readers into an unsure world, closely resembling a nightmare. The disease is described as having “no pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal --the redness and the horror of blood”(8).…

    • 1749 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In Edgar Allan Poe 's short story "The Masque of the Red Death", the plague has devastated Prince Prospero 's kingdom, leaving most of the population dead or infected. The Prince responds to this tragedy by securing himself, and one thousand of the most regal lords and ladies, in a castellated abbey; this their attempt to escape death themselves, however, they are aware that this cannot be done. The dread of this inevitable death is displayed symbolically and through the vivid language used by Poe. The abbey contains seven chambers each of which symbolizes a different stage in a person 's life. Within the most heinous room stands a grand ebony clock; this is a symbol that time moves in one direction and towards the inevitable fate of death.…

    • 1077 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The main protagonist in The Masque of the Red Death is Prince Prospero because he is developed as a dynamic character. Prospero illustrates the inevitability of death as he struggles against the “Red Death.” It begins when Prince Prospero’s town is in serious pain because the plague “had long devastated the country” (Poe 299). Prospero was aware how dangerous the plague is but does not worry about it. Instead, Prospero chooses to use his wealth to escape death by hosting a masquerade ball. Even this early in the story, Poe indicates how Prospero is unstable because he tries to escape death by inviting “a thousand hale and light hearted friends” to his castle (Poe 300).…

    • 1095 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Death is inevitable and while one can attempt to prolong life, death will always overtake in the end. The Middle Ages brought terror upon the people due to the bubonic plague and the death that followed the sickness. During this time, people channeled their fears into their artwork, literature, and music. Edgar Allan Poe, a nineteenth-century writer, had many of the women in his life die and, as a result, wrote many short stories and poems with gloomy tones. His short story “The Masque of the Red Death” is a tale of nobles who strive to hide from those infected with bubonic plague and escape the death that succeeds it.…

    • 1115 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Symbolism in The Masque of The Red Death The Masque of the Red Death is a glaringly nightmarish and symbolic tale of the inevitability of death. By some it is described as “a tragedy in the purest classical sense of the word” ("Explanation of: The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe."). Edgar Allen Poe used symbolism to reveal the true nature of the characters and themes of the story. In The Masque of the Red Death, Edgar Allan Poe uses the intense symbolism of the seven chambers to establish the idea that death is inevitable no matter how important one is in society. Some believe that “red death” was actually tuberculosis because some of the symptoms that Poe used to describe the red death or the same symptoms of tuberculosis.…

    • 1433 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Everyone outside of the fortified abbey dies of the terrible plague, enabling the reader to feel horrified of Prospero’s actions. Each of the insane characters in these tales showcase a lack of rational, which helps Poe capture his desired feeling of horror. In the tales “The Masque of the Red Death”, and the “Tell-Tale Heart”, Poe invokes a feeling of fear and uneasiness through the cowardliness of his characters. The pusillanimity of a nation’s leader is something that would…

    • 1842 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” is considered to be an allegory about life and the inevitability of death. While it may appear to be a story about a plague and a prince’s response to it, it in fact holds a much deeper meaning and lesson. In “The Masque of the Red Death,” Prince Prospero locks himself into his abbey with 1,000 other people to escape the plague that is ravishing the world outside. However, when Prince Prospero holds a party in his abbey, a masked stranger sneaks in, killing all of the people inside. One allegorical feature in this short story is the colored rooms in the abbey, which symbolize the path of life.…

    • 1420 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    After everyone is slaughtered by the plague and the final bell of the ominous clock’s lullaby, the narrator exclaims, “And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all,” (Poe 452). Poe ends his story with this line to proclaim that death will reign supreme no matter the number of obstacles Prospero gives the plague. The word choice Poe uses, “Dominion over all,”, resonates the pure idea that power will never be in one’s grasp. This explicitly pressures the theme, of being powerlessness, onto the reader; in doing so, this reveals that Prospero’s fight for life could have been a truly unintelligent battle or a fight of his pride that his creation, the abbey, could withstand such an inevitable force. Then, in Cassuto’s literary criticism of Poe’s tale, Cassuto states, ”The Red Death is indeed extraordinary, but so must be the narrator...The only one who ‘lives’ is Death.…

    • 1801 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe delivers his that no can escape death in his short story “The Masque of the Red Death” through symbolism, setting and narration. The story takes place during the dark ages where the bubonic plague is devastating the land killing off thousands. The bubonic plague is a horrendous disease that cause a gruesome death. The author states that it causes “sharp pains and sudden dizziness and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution” (Edgar Allan Poe). He renames this disease the Red Death for how, “the redness and the horror of blood” (Edgar Allan Poe), was its calling card.…

    • 1441 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics