The Masque of the Red Death: Inevitability of Death

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  • Topic: The Masque of the Red Death, Masquerade ball, Symbolism
  • Pages : 3 (1063 words )
  • Download(s) : 230
  • Published : April 20, 2008
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Prince Prospero calls together “a thousand hale and light-hearted friends” to come to his castle for fun and to seclude themselves until the danger of the plague, known as the Red Death, has passed. During Poe’s lifetime a big wave of cholera and yellow fever attacked America and Europe. Poe associates the Red death to those outbreaks of cholera and yellow fever. The symptoms of the Red Death are horrible to observe: the victim is sweep by convulsive agony and sweats blood instead of water. The plague is said to kill within half an hour. To entertain his noble and wealthy friends while they are secluded in his “castellated abbeys”, Prince Prospero organizes a “masked ball of the most unusual magnificence”, while the plague kills thousands. The night of the ball comes; the guests arrive in their costumes and the festivities begin. The fun is interrupted by the arrival of an unknown guest, whose costume reflects the “Red Death”. As the “Red Death” continues to walk through the halls, he is confronted by Prince Prospero in the black room. Without explanation, the Prince falls dead at the intruder’s feet and the revelers, noticing the intruder, find that the costume is "untenanted by any tangible form." At which point, the guests begin to die in their tracks as they acknowledge the presence of the Red Death. In “The Masque of The Red Death” Poe uses the power of symbolism to convey the idea that no one can evade the grip of death. The Masquerade, which Prince Prospero organizes for his friends, is held in seven rooms. The way the rooms are set up from east to west, blue at one end and black at the other, represents the cycle of a day from night to night, which can also symbolize that death is as inevitable as day and night. The room where the Prince dies is the black room, which is different from the other six, “in the black chamber … dark hangings through the blood-tinted pains was ghastly to the extreme and produced so wild a look… of those who entered”. Poe uses...
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