The Masque of the Red Death and the Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

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The Masque of The Red Death and The Tell-Tale Heart
By Edgar Allan Poe

The two short stories by Edgar Allan Poe - The Masque of the Red Death and The Tell-Tale Heart, have some rather important differences but mostly share the same tone/mood, themes and other stylistic ways.

The Masque of the Red Death creates a tone of gothic and horror throughout the short story. You can understand this just by looking at the opening lines: “The "Red Death" had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal --the redness and the horror of blood.” At the same time, this line also sets the mood, it's just plain dreadful. Similar to The Masque of the Red Death, The Tell-Tale Heart has a horrific tone, the protagonist is terrified of the old man's eyes which is described as pale blue with a film over it, and resembling that of a vulture. Likewise, the mood is dark, eerie and mysterious. For example, throughout the story we are just wondering if the protagonist is insane, does he really hear the heart or is he just paranoid.

The Masque of the Red Death and The Tell-Tale Heart also share similarities in theme. For example, mortality, how could the story be called "The Masque of the Red Death" and not be about death? Throughout the story, from the description of the "Red Death" to the closing line about death's "dominion" you are constantly reminded that there is no escape from death. Another theme is reality, the atmosphere of the story feels more dreamlike than real. Take, for example,“When the eyes of Prince Prospero fell upon this spectral image (which with a slow and solemn movement, as if more fully to sustain its role, stalked to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen to be convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder either of terror or distaste; but, in the next, his brow reddened with rage.” When the Red Death arrives, something changes. The Red Death feels no more real than anything...
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