Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death and "The Telltale Heart" Essay

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Edgar Allan Poe's short stories, "The Telltale Heart" and "The Masque of the Red Death" are two very different stories. One is about a simple man, perhaps a servant, who narrates the tale of how he kills his wealthy benefactor, and the other is about a prince who turns his back on his country while a plague known as The Red Death ravages his lands. Yet, there are some similarities in both. Time, for instance, and the stroke of midnight, seem to always herald the approach of impending death. Both are killers, one by his own hand, the other by neglecting his country. One seeks peace, the other seeks pleasure, but both are motivated by the selfish need to rid themselves of that which haunts them, even at the expense of another's life. …show more content…
"They resolved to leave means neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within." Prince Prospero also, "had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori [actors], there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, and there was wine. All these and security were within."[386] It was the great detail that each character took to rid themselves of their horrors, that they create in themselves a confidence, which leads them to falsely assume they are safe from reproach.

This false sense of control feeds them both with a sense of power, a feeling that they can do anything they want, or a 'God complex,' if you will. Prospero, after half of his country had fallen victim to the Red Death, was "happy and dauntless and sagacious."[386] It is after approximately six months of seclusion, "while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a Masqueree ball of the most unusual magnificence." [386] How disgusting a man is this that all he can see is his own pleasure at a time when his country needs him the most.

In "Telltale Heart," the narrator shows his cockiness, when he explains the rush of power he feels at being so smart in his planning of the old man's death. "Oh you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it (his head) in!" And later he reflects, "Upon the eighth night I was more then usually

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