The Masque Of The Red Death Symbolism Essay Introduction

The Use Of Symbols In "The Masque Of The Red Death" Essay

1122 Words5 Pages

Everyone fears their own death, thus why some people will do anything to escape it. In Edgar Allan Poe's short story, “The Masque of the Red Death”, this fear is experienced by all. In the story, a prince named Prospero and his people try to elude the Red Death through seclusion and isolation in the prince's abbey. However, no walls can stop death since it is unavoidable and inescapable. Throughout the story, Poe uses symbols such as the rooms, the masked figure, and the clock to convey the theme that no one can escape death. The image of the rooms used in the story has a main contribution to the theme being conveyed. Prince Prospero's abbey consists of seven different and symbolic rooms. The fact that there were seven rooms is symbolic…show more content…

For instance, the panes were scarlet, a deep blood colour. The "bloody" red room thus becomes a place of ending not only due to the westward location, but also because of its color. Poe describes the last, black room as the dreadful endpoint, the room the guests fear just as they fear death. The room is feared by the guests because it reminds them of death, which is why no one enters the room. The room is involved in all of the main scenes throughout the course ofthe story. For example, this is the room Prince Prospero and his guests die from the Red Death and also where the clock is located. The reader sees how important the rooms are throughout the story and its main contribution to the theme. Within the story, the masked figure is used as an important symbol in portraying that no one can escape death. The masked figure, who made its presence at midnight, had not been seen by anyone before. The masked figure is described as “tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave” (Poe 5). Furthermore, when the mask of the Red Death appears, it is shocking to all the guests. The reader discovers that this guest is even more strange than all the other guests. The figure resembles a corpse of a victim of the Red Death, thereby symbolizing the presence of the plague, which is the dangerously deadly disease all the guests are attempting to escape from. This comes to show that death finds its way to everyone. The appearance of the

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Essay on The Masque of the Red Death: Symbolism

1419 Words6 Pages

The author, Edgar Allan Poe, using illusion or misdirection keeps the reader is suspense throughout this story called "The Masque of the Red Death". Symbolism such as the colored rooms, the impressive clock, the feeling of celebration being at a party all makes this story feel like a fairytale. Poe used this fairytale style and converts it into a nightmare in disguise. In the "Masque of the Red Death," the first sentence, "The Red Death had long devastated the country," sets the tone for the whole story. Poe describes the horrors of the disease, stressing the redness of the blood and the scarlet stains. The disease kills so quickly that one can die within thirty minutes of being infected with the disease. To create a frightening effect…show more content…

The uncaring and celebratory manner in which they present themselves seems vain and outrageous - considering the dreadful disease occurring elsewhere. Symbolism plays an important part in this story. The ebony clock is particularly significant “there stood against the Western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony.” Poe placed the clock against the western wall for a symbolic purpose. The sun rises in the East and sets in the West. The clock is nearer to the setting sun. The placement of the clock indicates an association with an ending. A sunset indicates the ending of a day, while the ebony color of the clock suggests its relationship with darkness and death. The characters react to the sounding of the clock’s chimes in a nervous fashion. “…While the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale.” Poe uses this clock to remind the characters that they have lived through another hour to build up the time of revelation. At each strike of the clock the characters stop everything as if they are waiting for the "Red Death" to come for them at any minute. At twelve, the stranger dressed as the "Red Death" appears. This time everyone begins to fear death. The darkness of the rooms causes shadows to form by the fires' light to increase suspense. The story takes place in seven sharply separated rooms. A reading of the

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