The Masque of the Red Death

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“The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe is about a prince known as Prospero that witnesses a horrible plague known as the Red Death, consuming the entire city. Prospero and his guests take refuge from the people suffering and the disease in his “castellated abbey,” where he holds a masked ball in order to help his guests to ignore what is happening outside the castle walls. Throughout the story Edgar Allan Poe uses heavy symbolism and allegory to convey the underlying theme in the story which is the cycle of life. Symbolism is the practice of representing things with a symbolic meaning or character. Allegory is a form of extended metaphor which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning. The main allegory in the story is the representation of the seven rooms in the abbey with the colors and order of rooms representing the stages in life. The black room is probably the most symbolic amongst the seven rooms and represents the last stage of life, death. The big clock also relates to the inevitable stage in life(death) and as a symbol of passing time.

The image of the rooms used in the story has a main contribution to the theme being conveyed (the cycle of life). Prince Prospero’s abbey consists of seven different and symbolic rooms. The fact that there were seven rooms is symbolic in itself due to the fact that there are seven stages in life. “There was a sharp turn at the right and left” this part of the story tells the reader that the rooms are arranged from east to west (the quote explains how someone entering would make a turn to see that there are rooms on both the east and the west) east to west is also the way time is measured. The quote, ”the eastern extremity was hung for example in blue” is more evidence that the rooms symbolized the stages of life because the first room was on the east. The sun rises in the east, which represents beginning. So it’s not hard to see why the first room symbolizes birth.

The seventh room was probably the...
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