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Symbolism In The Masque Of The Red Death

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Many authors use symbolism to heighten the meaning of their themes and ideas by connecting their symbols to commonly known sources or objects. For instance, within Edgar Allen Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death” symbolism is used heavily throughout this short story and are linked to some commonly known material. The “Masque of the Red Death” focuses on a chaotic theme of death and chaos. Poe uses symbolism to portray his theme through the seven chambers in the prince’s home and these rooms together are linked by colors and Biblical references. In “Masque of the Red Death”, Edgar Allen Poe uses symbolism to establish the chaotic theme represented through the seven chambers. First Poe had used symbolism within this short story to establish …show more content…
Most of the criticisms on the “Masque of the Red Death” talk about these rooms and how they can be used to symbolize the theme of this story. The Critics Cheney and Perry explain why Poe had used seven rooms in his story within their criticisms. First Perry finds more Biblical patterns that can relate to this story and contains why seven could be an important number within this tale. Perry reinforces Poe’s use of seven by saying, “Poe’s numerology in “Masque” also echoes Biblical patterns. The plagues in John’s apocalypse, for example, are associated with the number seven, the number of successive rooms in Poe’s tale, just as the plagues represent an apocalyptic countdown”(para.2 pg 12). These connections to the bible help reinforce Perry’s connection because the bible is a powerful source to pull from, it has huge impacts on people both positive and negative. This story from the bible about John and his plagues representing apocalyptic countdown almost the like when the prince is traveling through his chambers and dies after the seventh chamber has a huge effect on the chaotic theme. Well, now Cheney has another view on the use of the number seven instead of any other number. Cheney is saying that number seven is referring to the seven stages of life. Within his criticism Cheney states,“Critics have associated the seven …show more content…
One critic describes another way that the colors themselves are symbols in the rooms. Cheney continues to find how the rooms are symbols to the thematic idea and how they reinforce it. Cheney states, “The seven colors also correspond to colors of vestments worn in Catholic liturgy as well as the seven colors of the rainbow.”(...) These vestments each represent a catholic meaning or celebration: the first color of the vestments is white and it represents the purity of soul almost like the first room of the prince’s home, next is red which symbolizes the shedding of blood, then violet representing sacrifice and penance, then black representing death and mourning. There are other colors of vestments, but these are most important to this story because of how much they relate to Poe’s work. These colors have the largest impact on the theme. The order of these color is really exploiting the chaotic theme from going from joy to death. Poe even hints at the importance of the rooms within the story. Poe had written, “ But first let me tell of the rooms in which it was held. There were seven --an imperial suite. In many palaces, however, such suites form a long and straight vista, while the folding doors slide back nearly to the walls on either hand, so that the view of the whole extent is scarcely impeded. Here the case was very different; as

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