Symbolism of Life and Death in “The Masque of the

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, Death, Meaning of life Pages: 3 (1049 words) Published: February 1, 2008
Symbolism of Life and Death in "The Masque of the Red Death" One characteristic of a romantic piece of literature is the use of symbolism the authors use in their works. In Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Masque of the Red Death," symbolism is used and seen many times. Some things in the story, when taken at face value, seem peculiar and confusing, such as the different colored rooms in the hallway, the purpose of the giant ebony clock, and the reasoning behind the guests' way of hiding their faces behind their masques. However, if assessed properly, the true meanings of these seemingly insignificant details are revealed and in reality have a heavy influence on the true meaning of the story.

The seven rooms in this story are one of the details that have a profound symbolic influence on the true meaning of Poe's story. The colors of the seven rooms, and the order in which the rooms are arranged in the story, have a specific meaning, which adds to the actual interpretation of the story. Each room consists of a different color: blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet, and black. When the implied meanings of each of these colors are revealed, the true reason for the rooms develops. Blue often reminds people of beginning of life and the purity that comes with that beginning. Next is purple, which is related to learning, youth, and the beginning of age. Following purple is green which we relate to growth, youthfulness, and energy. This is the point of a person's life when they reach their peak. Orange often reminds people of sunsets, falling leaves, and the beginning of the downfall to winter or the end of the year. Then there is white, which represents faith and the beginning of older age. Violet, which is seen as a darker shade of purple, is next with its reflection of knowledge, old age, and the coming of darkness. Lastly there is black which, as seen by everyone, brings thoughts of death, darkness, grief, and nighttime. If the meanings of these rooms are...
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