Edgar Allen Poe's The Masque Of The Red Death

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Aria Carlson 9/21/12 The Masque of the Red Death The short story, “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allen Poe is a tale about a prince named Prospero. During his reign, there was a lethal plague called the Red Death in his land, and the Prince used his castle as a shield to protect himself from it. Meanwhile, Prospero hosted a large masquerade ball inside his castle. During the ball, unexpectedly, a mysterious and ominous figure enters the room. Metaphorically speaking, Poe used setting and symbol to convey the theme that if you try to hide from the problem, the problem will always find you. The castle and the masquerade party help express Poe's theme. He made it a point to show how strong and reinforced the castle is; “a strong…show more content…
It seems ironic that the prince would host a masquerade ball when he is hiding from the Red Death. Symbolically, the revelers are hiding beneath their masks from death. In addition, the entertainment the Prince had provided distracted the guests. “There were buffoons, there were improvisation, there were ballet dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, and there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the “Red Death.” What a wonderful ball the prince was hosting-or could it just have been a distraction from the fact that death would soon befall everyone? All the revelers were in their own little world at the party, but every time the ebony clock from the seventh room rang, it was like a check into reality. Everyone quieted and became nervous, realizing that death is approaching. The castle was secure and safe from the outside world but without a sanctuary, you would most likely contract the Red Death and die soon. In this manner, the setting greatly helped to convey the first half of the theme—the attempt to hide from a problem. In this case, the problem is the Red Death and setting is the castle and masquerade ball. Later we find out that no one, no matter how rich or poor they are, can escape…show more content…
The clock sat in the last of the seven rooms, farthest west. Obviously, the clock is used to represent death, or more precisely the approach of death and the passage of time. Each hour the clock chimed, reminding the guests that their lives are drifting away with time and death is drawing closer. Poe finishes the meaning of the symbol when he says, “And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay.” That basically means when the clock stopped, so did life. The clock is also given human-like features (brazen lungs, the exceedingly musical sound, the life of the clock etc.) which make it more real, more
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