Symbolism in "The Masque of the Red Death" and "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allen Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe is arguably one of the best writers of all time. Through Poe’s masterful use of symbolism, he is able to deeply develop a story. Poe’s deep symbolic writings make readers read deeper into the story to fully understand the meaning to the story. Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” and “The Cask of Amontillado,” are arguably the best stories he has ever written. “The Masque of the Red Death,” is about a prince named Prospero who witnesses a plague known as the Red Death, consuming the entire city. Prospero invites the elite of his kingdom to join him in his castle and take refuge from the poor people suffering and the disease. To help his guests ignore the disease and suffering right outside the castle he holds a masked ball. Throughout the story Poe uses symbolism to emphasize the plague and death in his story. Some of the important symbols in this story are the seven rooms where the ball is being held, the giant clock, the castle and Prince Prospero himself. “The Cask of Amontillado,” is about a man named Montresor who feels he has been insulted by a man named Fortunato. As the story develops Montessor expresses his desire to kill Fortunato for his insults. Montressor knows that he cannot just kill Fortunato; he knows he must do it so that he doesn’t place himself at risk. After tricking Fortunato into Montresor’s wine cellars in hopes of tasting a cask of Amontillado, Montressor entombs Fortunato in a wall crypt to remain hidden forever. Throughout the story some of the most notable symbols are Fortunato’s outfit and the nitre on the walls. To distract his guest, Prince Prospero holds a masquerade ball in seven distinct rooms in his caste. Each of the rooms symbolizes the seven phases of the human life cycle. The... ... middle of paper ... ...ue web is the trap that Montressor has prepared for Fortunato. As Fortunato and Montressor finally reach the last chamber of the cellar Montressor informs Fortunato that the Amontillado is just inside the crevice in the wall. Fortuanto anxiously enters the crevice where Montressor closes him up to be trapped for all eternity. Throughout all of Poe’s short stories symbolism is found to varying degrees. Some of Poe’s stories posses strong, deep symbols, while others use symbols as more of a backdrop. Many of Poe’s deep symbols require the reader to look much deeper into the true meaning of the story. For some the meanings behind Poe’s symbols are too deep and complicated to understand. Much like the meaning of the seven rooms in “The Masque of the Red Death,” or the nitre in “The Cask of Amontillado.” To this day Poe proves to be the everlasting master of symbolism.

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