Masque of the Red Death

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The Gradual Stages Which We Call Life

In Edgar Allen Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death you are engaged into a story of intrigue and metaphorical suspense. From the beginning of the parable Poe engages the reader to the confusing array of details. The series of rooms, which may at first, seem to be meaningless have an intrigue place within the story. As a matter of fact, Poe never includes any detail without thought. From the color scheme to the guests of the ball, all of which compiled together gather the evidence as to relevance of life and sickness within the tale. The strategic placement of the rooms from east to west are one of the initials clues as to Poe’s moral lesson to the story. As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, each new beginning and new day is began in the east and ended in the west. In Poe’s mentioning of the strategic placement of the rooms automatically brings the reader’s attention to that precise thought out detail. The placement and color Poe gave to each room symbolizes the stages of life. As Poe elaborates in saying, “The apartments were so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time.” (208) Each room with its own color, its own stage must be entered and observed individually, one at a time. As life as taught us and although we may attempt to rush it, our life is a gradual process, one of which must be lived as the stages we progress. The colors used in each individual room also represent the gradual stages of life, ultimately resulting in the color of black which can be easily related to death. These gradual stages can also be interpreted as the gradual and painful stages of sickness. Each stage of an illness must be painfully endured until the sometimes viewed pleasant release of death. It is in the black room, the last room that a “gigantic clock of ebony” was placed. As if the clock symbolized the common illustration of the “elephant in the room.” It was the object that...
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