Masque of the Red Death

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Victoria Schmidt
English Comp. 2
“Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allen Poe
In Edgar Allen Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death,” Poe uses irony to define his story, and to emphasize on the inevitability of death. Irony is used for the reader to focus on one part of the story, and then it twists to give the reader a whole different meaning. There are two types of Irony used in this story. One is verbal irony, and the other is dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is when the reader knows more than the characters. Poe uses verbal and imagery irony in his story. First Poe uses words to create verbal irony, such as Prince Prospero. The reader expects the Prince to prosper, but in fact it is quite the opposite, and he dies. Another use of verbal irony is the abbey; Prince Prospero turns this place of worship into a huge place of pleasure, with beauty, music and drinking. Not only is the abbey used for pleasure, but it is used as confinement away from everyone else, and no one can get in or out. More use of verbal irony is in the word Prince. We would think that the Prince would help his people, but in fact he was selfish and wanted to save himself while everyone else died. Further verbal irony consists of the wall that went around the abbey. The wall was an enormous wall that was meant to keep out the Red Death, but yet the Red Death still got in. Poe also uses foreshadowing such as Prospero’s brow “reddens with rage.” Also with the seven rooms more foreshadowing occurs with the heart of life “beat feverishly.” Then there is the clock, with the “circuit of the face, brazen lungs, and stricken” all these words makes the reader believe the clock is alive. The red brow signifies the Red Death, and feverishly makes us believe that they are already sick. In association with Prospero are the words eccentric, august, sagacious and then there is mad. There are some that thought of Prospero as “mad.” Further with the seven rooms there is also more irony because each room is...
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