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A Tale of Two Cities and the French Revolution. Compare/Contrast

By PearlHead Nov 30, 2008 476 Words
Joseph A. Tucker
Am. Lit.
Mrs. Ma
11/7/07
Mask Project

In Edgar Allen Poe’s short story The Masque of the Red Death, each room of a different color signified one of the seven deadly sins. The mask is represented by the color orange, and the color orange is complementary to gluttony. Both the color orange and gluttony are seen in Poe’s allegorical story. The mask represents gluttony, and gluttony can be found in The Masque of the Red Death.

The mask represents gluttony in a couple different ways. Gluttony may be defined as a desire to consume more than one needs. Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas said of Gluttony: "Gluttony denotes, not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire... leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral virtue consists." The food on the mask represents one connotation of the word consume. Eating too much because you can, or you have enough, is a gluttonous act. Any other consumption to the point of waste can be derived as withholding from the needy, or those who need it more. Thomas Aquinas also made a list of five ways to commit gluttony, which include: eating too soon, eating too expensively, eating too much, eating too eagerly, and eating too daintily. Orange, also represented on the mask, is a powerful color, and is said to increase the craving for food. This goes hand in hand with gluttony in certain aspects. It could also personify craving for power or wealth and identifies with another deadly sin, greed.

Gluttony can be seen as a sign of high status. Prince Prospero is obviously of high status, and throughout the story he has a gluttonous psyche. As a wealthy prince, he may take pride in the security of having enough food to eat to show it off, or enough property to conceal hundreds of forunate people. The parsiminous prince makes an attempt to esacpe the red death, but in his undertaking he is confronted with the reality of the less auspicious and encounters death. Instead of trying to help those in need, Prince Prospero decides to seclude the sick and center his party around his friends, eating and drinking festivley beyond their own needs. Deaths results in a moral backlash when the prince attempts to extrude the uninvited guest, instead of being merciful and taking care of him, another consequence of his gluttonous complexion.

The mask may not be seen at Prince Prospero’s ravishing party, but it represents Poe’s story in several different points that have been reasoned. Just as Poe writes, many reprecussions come from being gluttonous, but as it states in Proverbs 23:20-21; “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”

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