The Masque of the Red Death

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Have you ever read a story where fantasy is the reality and things do not quite make sense? This is true for “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allen Poe. In it is a version of the black plague, which is called the “Red Death”. Prince Prospero secludes a thousand friends and himself from the death around them, but finds that he cannot avoid the inevitable. The author uses many literary devices to create an interesting and meaningful story. One of the devices used is imagery, which evokes the events of the story clearly in the reader’s mind. Another is allegory, which is used by Poe to create another story within his, as it is filled with double meanings. Lastly, Poe utilizes symbolism to give the story meaning. Edgar Allan Poe uses imagery, allegory, and symbolism to add dimension to his story and to express the theme that one cannot escape death, no matter how hard one tries.

Poe uses imagery to paint a picture in readers’ mind, create a mood, and emphasize the significance of certain objects. One can envision the amazement of the chambers, which had “…a tall and narrow Gothic window…of stained glass whose color varied in accordance with the…hue…of the chamber into which it opened” and was lit up by “…a brazier of fire that projected its rays through the tinted glass” (421). One can also imagine the way the crowd slows down to a pause when the “…chiming of the clock... [causes] disconcert and tremulousness and meditations” (423). These descriptions keep readers’ attention throughout the story. One can feel the terror of the “Red Death”, which “…had long devastated the country” and whose “…Avatar and seal [was] the redness and horror of blood” (420). The fact that blood represents the disease makes it recognized as deadly an...

... middle of paper ... that of the last of the gay [a]nd the flames of the tripods expired” (427) to show that the tables have already turned and there is no going back.

Edgar Allan Poe uses imagery, allegory, and symbolism to give allegorical meaning to his story “The Masque of Red Death”. He employs imagery to keep readers interested by creating an image, feeling, and significance. Poe also uses allegory to express some underlying meanings within his story through Prince Prospero, the Red Death, and the chambers. Likewise, Poe utilizes symbolism to convey certain ideas through the blue and black room, the clock, and midnight. Poe also uses these literary devices to impart the idea that death is unavoidable and that it is futile to try to stop it from occurring. When people go through their daily lives, they may not know it, but many things around them could have a double meaning.
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