Allegory In The Masque Of The Red Death

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Madeline Kincer Mr. Thompson 1302-4200 March 12, 2015 The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe There is an exuberating, whimsical expression that comes throughout reading “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe. The gothic imagery is personified and leaves an eerie chill down the readers’ spine. ”The Masque of the Red Death” is a short thriller about a plague terrorizing the country. The “Red Death” began by only killing the poor and weak members of society, the high class people were becoming concerned, so they attempted to hide from the Red Death. While hiding in the midst of the Red Death’s terror, Prince Prospero throws a huge gala, much like a gothic version of a Jay Gatsby party from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great…show more content…
Allegory is a symbolic representation of fictional figures or actions of human behavior (Webster Dictionary); seeing allegory being used in “The Masque of the Red Death” one can find a lot of insight into Poe’s personal life. Poe’s wife, mother, brother, and foster mother all contracted tuberculosis (TB) and perished from the sickness (“Poe’s Life: Who is Edgar Allen Poe?”). This traumatic experience can be used as a comparison to “The Masque of the Red Death”, and is an excellently executed example of allegory. The reader can assume that the Red Death is some form of plague that is described as very similar to what we know as tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is a potentially deadly disease that attacks the respiratory system and spreads throughout the circulatory system, and can attack lymph nodes, genitourinary tract, bone and joint sites, meninges, and the lining covering the outside of the gastrointestinal tract. These symptoms can all cause a patient with TB to cough and sweat blood (Schiffman). The real ailment that Poe was all too acquainted with and the fictional one were parallel; Poe writes: “There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and the profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution” (4-5). The symbols and similarities are blatant to the…show more content…
Each room is a different color, representing a different stage of life. The first room, furthest to the east, is the blue room, representing birth, or the unknown alternate universe before a human enters the world. The next room is combination of blue, and red, the hue equating life. This makes the purple room a suggestion to the very beginning of a young child’s life, innocent and full of vigor. As Poe continues, green is the next color room to symbolize “spring”, or a life of youth. The following room is orange, representative of summer and autumn and the later stages of life in adulthood. The fifth space is white, suggesting old age; white hair or bones that come with inching towards death. The next violet color portrays a dark foreshadowing to the seventh and final room, the black, the room of death
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