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Symbolism and in Edgar Allan Poe's the Masque of the Red Death

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Michael Reyes

Symbolism and in Edgar Allan Poe's the Masque of the Red Death

Thesis: Poe uses symbolism to unfold this gripping tale of terror. “The Masque of the Red Death” is an allegory. It features a set of recognizable symbols whose meanings combine to convey a message. An allegory always operates on two levels of meaning: the literal elements of the plot (the colors of the rooms, for example) and their symbolic counterparts, which often involve large philosophical concepts (such as life and death). This can be read as an allegory about life and death and the powerlessness of humans to evade the grip of death. The Red Death thus represents both literally and allegorically how in the end no one man can overcome death. We will look at three symbols in detail; being Prince Prospero and his wealth, the second is the Ebony Clock that which chimes and finally we will look at the final room or the black room these symbols are written in such vivid detail this story albeit short feels tangible and palpable, at times truly coming to life. This is a true tale of horror that was carefully orchestrated and one not easily forgotten.
Lavish parties, extravagant material items, no matter how beautiful the castle, how luxurious the clothing, or how rich the food, no mortal, not even a prince, can escape death. In another sense, though, the story also means to punish Prospero’s arrogant belief that he can use his wealth to fend off the natural, tragic progress of life. Prospero’s arrogance combines with a grievous insensitivity to the plight of his less fortunate countrymen. Although he possesses the wealth to assist those in need, he turns his wealth into a mode of self-defense and decadent self-indulgence. His decadence in throwing the masquerade ball, however, unwittingly positions him as a caged animal, with no possible escape! Poe uses his character, Prince Prospero...

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