The mummer and the Red Death both symbolize each other and ultimately fate. “The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to toe in the habiliments of the grave” (Poe, par. 9). “But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death” (Poe, par. 9). Poe establishes the mummer as the living embodiment of the red death by dressing him in the habiliments of the disease. “The figure who appears at the masquerade as the Red Death represents the outside of the tale” (Roth, par. 7). Roth also agrees that the mummer represents the outside, the Red Death, and fate.
The people in this allegory attempt to hide from fate and the outside, but they will not succeed because man cannot control fate. “But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys” (Poe, par. 2). “Prince Prospero and a thousand knights seek to secure themselves against the Red Death by relocating themselves in a ‘new’ place” (Roth, par. 3). Prince Prospero and his friends attempt to hide from death an...
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... mummer is a symbol of the clock and the tripods in the dark room of death. This relates both fate and time, and because their time was up, fate came to claim them. Poe also states that the Red Death held dominion over all and because the mummer also represents the Red Death, he ends the story by reinforcing his theme that man cannot control fate and fate will rule over all.
In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” the symbolism of the mummer, the masques, and the fortress convey the idea that no matter how much one tries to control death, fate will override. There is nothing man can do to control all aspects of life. “Frail humanity can never escape the inevitable ravages of time” (Zimmerman par. 12). Poe’s story serves as a lesson to the reader that when they try to change their fate , they will drop, and die in the despairing posture of their fall.
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