Plague, terror and death swept the country. “No pestilence had ever been so fatal”. In Edgar Allen Poe’s the Masque of Red Death, the author uses setting, imagery and suspense to convey the theme that death is inescapable.
The story is set in Prince Prospero’s abbey somewhere isolated from the rest of the country and the people in it are trapped inside while the people outside can not get in. The abbeys sense of confinement is threatening and everyone both inside and out has so capability to escape death from the plague. “Not only is it deeply secluded, but Prospero and his followers welded the doors shut, so no one can get in or out” (Canada).
Poe uses imagery, more specifically the sense of sight, to express the appearance of the Red Death figure. The image of the Red Death frightens and worries the people of the masquerade ball. As the guests including the prince die one by one, there is truth that no one, not even the wealthy can escape death. “The personified Red Death strikes fear and anger in the hearts of Prospero and his guests. Once the Red Death appears, it never leaves” (Lorcher).
Suspense in the story is built by the ebony clock. The clock’s frightening chime of the bell every hour is a constant reminder to the guests that their lives are passing away and death is getting closer. The clock has a great effect on the party by making the dancing and music stop, and the guests laugh nervously. “The clock that presides over that room also reminds the guests of death’s final judgment” (Shmoop).
Edgar Allen Poe addresses that no one can escape death by using setting, imagery and suspense in the Masque of Red Death.
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