Analysis: The Masque of the Red Death

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Edgar Allan Poe's Infatuation with Death
Ralph Emerson once wrote, "Talent alone cannot make the writer. There must be a man behind the book." Edgar Allan Poe acquired the ability to write Gothic horror through the tragedies that existed in his life. At three years old Poe lost his mother and father. Grief and sadness overwhelmed Poe's childhood and eventually his literary style. "By temperament and mournful personal experience, Poe was drawn into the contemporary cult of death" (Kennedy 111-33.) In his shocking and lurid tales of horror, "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Tell-Tale Heart," and "The Cask of Amontillado," Edgar Allan Poe reveals his obsession with death and suffering through the development of his characters and the shocking situations he exposes.

The introduction of Poe's famous short story, "The Masque of the Red Death" illustrates the disease that is gruesomely killing it's victims. There was sudden dizziness, sharp pains, and then profuse bleeding from the pores, lasting about half an hour until killing it's victim. As The Red Death is rapidly spreading throughout the country, Prince Prospero is optimistic and derives a plan. He decides to lock the gates of his palace inviting only a thousand of his peers to be spared from the disease. After five months the Prince throws an elaborate masquerade ball, decorating each room in a certain color. The first chamber was vividly blue, the second was purple along with it's tapestry. The third was green and the fourth chamber was orange, the fifth was white and the sixth was violet. The seventh apartment was the most grotesque of all, decorated in black with velvet curtains. It is the only chamber that the window hue did not correspond with the walls, the window was a scarlet red symbolizing blood. "Death cannot be barred from the is in the blood, part and parcel of our humanity, not an external invader." (Kennedy 111-133.) At midnight an unknown guest appears, dressed...
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