The Masque of the Red Death Response Paper

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Lisa Highsmith
English 111:E7
Professor Veronica Brenneck
February 23, 2013

“The Masque of the Red Death”
By: Edgar Allan Poe

In the story Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe, taken from the book entitled Fifty Short Stories, Poe describes a time in which a plague hit the town leaving many people to die. Prince Prospero unlike the commoners did not fear this plague because he enclosed himself and his friends inside a castle were there was protection from this plague. Throughout this story there are many elements in which imagery and symbolism play a major part of the theme of death.

While in the castle Poe gives a very descriptive account about the colors of the different rooms in the castle. These colors symbolize the different aspects of what is going to happen throughout the story. For example, he begins to talk about the blue room, the purple room, the green room, the white room, the black room, and so forth. As one thinks of the colors you may begin to think about how they would make you feel. Blue tends to be a very cool color, so one might feel relaxed and calm. But as Poe continues to describe the different colors of each room, it invokes different feelings. When he talks about the black room you may have a feeling of darkness. Darkness tends to invoke feelings of being scared. He especially paints this picture when he goes on to talk about the walls being a scarlet color. Unlike the other rooms described, this room is very gloomy and seems to represent death.

Another example of symbolism throughout the story is the sound of the clock. In the beginning the sound of the clock would have a continuous noise. But as time went on the clock started to lose its sound from one level to the next. This continues until there is no sound left. Just like the previous example about color the loss of sound in the clock is a constant reminder of death.

Poe continues to show how the imagery of one’s clothing can portray a particular message....
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