Encounters with Death in The Masque of Red Death After reading Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of Red Death" (317-22), the reader can only conclude that death is the theme once again in another thrilling horror tale. Other critics such as Patricia H. Wheat, view this tale as a battle between life and death (51-56). Yet, Leonard Cassuto brings an interesting theory to this tale--"According to the narrator's own account, no one survives the Red Death. The only one who(lives) is Death. The narrator must be death himself" (317-20).
What’s more is that we must understand these things in order to see him. Poe even states that “the mind of a painter is expressed in his pictures” (Poetical 360). His entire repertoire is the key to the proverbial lock of his intent behind his own masterpiece. These are what have made Poe such a notorious figure in American culture. Experiences within Edgar Allan Poe’s life lead to his different perspectives on death.
Poe emphasizes that the artistic effort to transform temporality into spatiality is condemned to failure. Even the seven rooms, which suggest a orderly pattern of static placing, become misshapen into an image of the time span of life when Prospero follows the Red Death through a time-based development from birth to youth to maturity to old age and finally to death. It is when Prospero must confront the reality of the temporality of life that he inevitably must confront the death that life always insists on. “The Masque of the Red Death” should not be relinquished as a simple gothic horror story, but rather should be understood in terms of the aesthetic concept that dominated Poe’s work.
I chose to write about the comparison of two of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories. The two stories that I chose to write about are “The Masque of the Red Death” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”. Both of these stories create and have a gothic mood to them, which draws you in as a reader. The story of the masque of the red death is written about the black plague that was spreading across Europe at the time, and the story of the fall of the house of usher is written about a sickness or a disease that affects the characters of the story. In Edgar Allen Poe’s story of the “The Masque of the Red Death “, it is narrated by an unknown onlooker within the castle itself.
In Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Masque of the Red Death", Poe use many symbols to interpret the many different theme's. One of the themes is that you cannot escape death which Poe proves in this story to be true. Each of the rooms that Poe uses in the story represents a certain kind of mood, emotion or coincidences in life. Poe's story takes place in seven connected but carefully separated rooms. This reminds the reader of the past significance of the number seven.
Madness and Fear in Assignation, Cask of Admontillado, Fall of the House of Usher, and Masque of the Red Death Poe’s madmen are all obsessed with death. Existence within reality eventually becomes impossible. Poe usually places his madmen within a room or other enclosure, but they are rarely ever outside. When we do come across an exterior, nature does its best to repress, confine and enclose the man. The protagonist in Poe’s “The Assignation” sums up the combination of time and space within Poe’s stories and says, “I have … framed for myself … a bower of dreams.
Visual descriptions in the story are used to symbolize death. Poe's use of language and symbolism is shown in his description of the seventh room in the suite, the ebony clock, and the fire. These objects are used to depict the theme of the story death "held illimitable dominion over all" (363). The first symbolic mean of death is depicted in the seventh room in the suite. Poe says, "The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue" (359).
Poe’s obvious distaste for the wealthy is represented through this quote. Poe’s obsession with death comes into play in the end of the story, where the “Red Death” enters dressed as a Plague victim, and all inside the castle are killed. Poe mocks the prosperous with the ridiculous things the Prince provided when they were in the castle. By ultimately ending the lives of the prosperous, it gives the reader a look into how Poe feels about the wealthy. This parallelism to Poe’s tragic life allows the reader to see how death has become a theme of Poe’s personal life, not only in the story.
Poe describes the horrors of the disease, stressing the redness of the blood and the scarlet stains. The disease kills so quickly that one can die within thirty minutes of being infected with the disease. To create a frightening effect of the revulsion of this disease, Poe uses words such as "devastated," "fatal," "horror of blood," and "sharp pains and profuse bleeding." In summary, the story relates the prince, trying to be safe and away from the horrible death, invites a thousand friends to be in seclusion in his abbey away from the disease. During a celebration , a masked ball at the abbey - with incredible described rooms and moods - a surprise masked intruder causes death to all.
Chatter had turned into indefinite terror. Some even assumed this figure didn 't exist under it 's ghastly mask resembling a corpse. An assumption amongst the crowd was this mask figure hadto be the embodiment of the Red Death. Poe wrote, “But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in blood --and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.” This suggest something more sinister, and ominous.