Theme Of Imagery In The Masque Of The Red Death

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Imagery is the use of figurative or descriptive language to create a vivid mental picture. It involves at least one of the five senses--sight, sound, touch, feel, taste. It terrifies and worries the people of the masquerade ball. Poe’s use of imagery, more specifically the sense of sight, is to express the appearance of the Red Death figure. Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” uses graphic imagery to offer a powerful statement about how death can’t be escaped.
Poe's narrator describes the "Red Death" as having long devastated the country; “In fact, no pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal--the redness and the horror of blood” (1). The image of blood and time throughout the short story also indicates corporeality. The plague may, in fact, represent typical attributes of human life and mortality by implying the entire story is an allegory about a man's useless tries to getaway from death.
Poe made a detailed description that it was to take place in one of Prince Prospero’s “castellated abbeys” (1), isolated from the rest of the country where the people in it are trapped inside while the people outside can not get in. He wanted his readers to imagine, “A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron” (1). The abbeys sense of confinement is threatening and everyone both inside and out had no capability to escape death from the plague. The sense of humorous irony is at hand as the Prince is bounded in the castle with the Red Death, the reason why he enclosed himself in the castle in the first place.
With the full intention to create an ambiance of fear, Poe uses the scariest portrayal of death you could imagine at the opening to the story. P...

... middle of paper ... the impression that Prospero represents Poe’s image of the artist who insists on creating an ideal artwork, but whom is permanently imprisoned by the time-bound nature of life. 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.
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