The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

1049 Words5 Pages
In “The Masque of the Red Death”, which is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe, the different qualities of the narration augments one's understanding of the events that takes place in the story. In this piece of fiction, the narration is in the first person point of view, although at first it seems to be in the third person. The spatial distance is diagetic and the temporal distance is retrospective, which is defined as the narrator speaking of events that have already happened in the past. The attitude in the narrative may be perceived as forthcoming, but only to an extent. There is a paradox presented by the conflict between the point of view of the narrator and the story itself. If the narration is in first person point of view, and the narrator is therefore present in the party, then how is the narrator telling the story if all those who participated in the revelry are dead? The attitude presented in The Masque of the Red Death by the narrator is forthcoming on some parts, but quite vague on the others. For example, in the sentence "The 'Red Death' had long devastated the country" (288), the exact location and name of the country is not given. There is also no year provided and so the time period in which the story is set in is unknown. However, time is given when the narrative is describing something that is connected to the masquerade. Some examples are: "the sounding of midnight upon the clock" (291) and "toward[s] the close of the fifth or sixth month of [the] seclusion...Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual significance" (289). The last quote also references all the other unnamed characters present in the story. The vagueness of the setting outside of the fortress em... ... middle of paper ... ...dox may serve as emphasis on how surreal and bizarre the events in the story are. The different qualities of the story's narration, such as the spatial and temporal distance, as well as the attitude, contribute to how one can understand the story by establishing the atmosphere and mood through which one perceives the narrative, as well as a frame that guides how the events that happen next may be understood. However, this story's point of view conflicts with the events that happened in the story itself. The paradox may serve as a highlight for the narrative’s otherworldly setting, or it may just be there to serve as a topic for future discussions by readers who may try to resolve the paradox in this story. Works Cited Poe, Edgar Allan. “Selected Poetry and Tales”. The Masque of the Red Death. Ed. James M. Hutchisson. Peterborough:Broadview, 2012. 288-294. Print.
Open Document