Time Takes Its Toll on All in Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe

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Time Takes Its Toll on All in Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allen Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" takes place in seven connected but carefully separated rooms. The significance of the number seven is apparent throughout our society. The bible chronicles the creation of the world in seven days, there are seven wonders of the world, colleges and universities divide learning into seven subjects and an individuals life is thought to have seven stages. Seven also symbolizes fear and doom as in the seven signs of the apocalypse. Therefore, the seven rooms represent a person's life from pure beginning to its impending death.

Poe's selected the layout of the rooms for specific symbolic purposes. The layout from the first to the last room is from east to west. East to west, the direction of the rising and setting sun, signifies that everything has a beginning and end. The rooms are also strategically laid out so that you cannot see one room to the next, creating the element of surprise. Poe mirrored the way we know and experience life. One never knows exactly what is ahead of them, but whatever it is, it will always lead one to death and there is no escape.

The colors of the rooms range from light to dark. The first room is blue, symbolizing "truth or insight," "spiritual values, wisdom or healing," (Todeshi, 71) giving the reader a feeling of peace and tranquility like a clear blue sky. The rooms go on leading to a deeper and somewhat darker feeling ending with the last or seventh room. This room is mostly black in color symbolizing an association "with negativity, sin, or evil," and representing "depression, illness, or disease." (Todeschi, 71).

The seventh room also contains a deep red ...

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...oe strove not so much to tell a story as to produce an effect such as that of desolation and despair.

Bibliography:

Bibliography

Quinn, Arthur Hobson. Edgar Allan Poe, A Critical Biography. New York: Appleton-Century

Crofts, 1941.

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Masque of the Red Death." Selected Tales, New York: Vintage Books,

1991: 156-162.

Smith, C. Alphonso. Edgar Allan Poe, How to Know Him. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1921.

Todeschi, Kevin J. The Encyclopedia of Symbolism. Berkley, 1995.

Cassuto, Leonard. "The Coy Reaper: Unmasqueing the Red Death." Studies in Short Fiction 25.3

(1998): 317-320.

Tritt, Michael. "The Masque of the Red Death." Poe Studies: Dark Romanticism: History,

Theory, Interpretation 16:1 (1983): 13-14.

Ruddick, Nicholas. "The Hoax of the Red Death: Poe as Allegorist." The Sphinx 4.4 (1985):

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