The Masque Of The Red Death Analysis

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Throughout the short story “The Masque of the Red Death,” Edgar Allan Poe uses vivid symbolism, structure, and reoccurring details to paint a powerful image regarding the finality and inescapable reaches of death itself. “The ‘Red Death’ has long devastated the country,” yet the Prince Prospero continues to hold extravagant parties for his fellow elite members of society. Rather than merely telling a series of events, Poe carries his readers throughout the many rooms and scenes that hold the Prince’s masquerade, up until the clock strikes midnight and the partygoers can no longer hide behind their façade, and death comes in to take those that thought themselves invincible (Poe 438-442). Within this short story, specific details and repeated…show more content…
Each line, every detail seems to tie into a deeper meaning that carries the reader throughout the story alongside the narrator and partygoers, all the while laden with hints and deeper meanings that progress rapidly toward the awaiting “horror” of death. With the introduction of the story alone, Poe has already set the stage with the background on the horrifying “pestilence” and its effects on the human body. By aptly naming it the “Red Death,” Poe is already conjuring images of the gruesome, painful deaths of history’s great plagues, particularly the black death which nearly shares its name, as well “the redness and the horror of blood” (Poe 438). It is here that the story takes a turn with the introduction of Prince Prospero himself, momentarily placing thoughts of the Red Death on the…show more content…
The clock serves as more than just a decorative element, it “is the relentlessly paralyzing reminder of ‘the Time that flies…’” (Freedman 238). Poe’s repeated mention of the clock and its chimes creates a level of anticipation and anxiety that must mirror what the partygoers are feeling as they are left unable to ignore the fact that time is passing and death is growing nearer. No matter how much wealth or luck these people may have had, they are not above dying. While the partygoers may try to “avoid the black and blood-tinted chamber, the echoes of the clock resound throughout the abbey” and leave each of them with a feeling of uneasiness as they are pulled back to reality (Freedman 238). While the prospect of people dying beyond the walls seemed not to weigh heavily among the party guests, “the chimes of the clock” made even the “giddiest [grow] pale” (Poe 439). The inclusion and repetition of such details as the partygoers’ reactions towards each of the clock’s hourly chimes show that they are finally, though unwillingly, beginning to acknowledge the finality of the death that awaits them. However, whenever the clock’s “sound fades, [the partygoers]

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