Poe's Use of "Macbeth" in the "Masque of the Red Death"

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, The Masque of the Red Death, Macbeth Pages: 1 (263 words) Published: September 12, 2007
This article, by Narayan Chandran, compares Edgar Allen Poe's "Masque of the Red Death" to William Shakespeare's "Macbeth". During the banquet scene in "Macbeth", there is a shadowy figure that places itself in the chair of Banquo and produces an intense effect with the rest of the assembly. This is very similar to Poe's spectral image that is the Red Death. The other people in Prince Prospero's abbey are appalled with this new addition to their group. Both are meant to have a powerful visual result.

When Macbeth sees this intruder, he addresses him with resentment, anger, shame, and shock, as does Prince Prospero. In their speech, Macbeth and Prospero both use the words "dare" and "mockery". Both passages convey visual impudence and threat aimed at the speakers by the unwelcome visitors. Both men are embarrassed that these unsolicited guests have gotten passed their guard and have infiltrated their festivity.

When introducing the reader to the uninvited guest, both the narrator in "Macbeth" and in "Masque of the Red Death" mentions the blood on the intruder's face. The reader learns of the blood on the Red Death in the beginning of the description whereas Shakespeare waits until the end to reveal that fact. Both Macbeth and Prospero have daggers in their possession, but Macbeth is the only one that uses his. When reading this article the reader can clearly see similarities between the play and the story. Edgar Allen Poe is just one of the many acclaimed writers who borrowed ideas from the works of William Shakespeare.
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