Free Essay

The Masque of Red Death

In: English and Literature

Submitted By NMaria
Words 1536
Pages 7
The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

1. Plot. The story takes place at the castellated abbey of the "happy and dauntless and sagacious" Prince Prospero. Prospero and one thousand other nobles have taken refuge in this walled abbey to escape the Red Death, a terrible plague with gruesome symptoms that has swept over the land. Victims are overcome by convulsions and sweat blood. The plague is said to kill within half an hour. Prospero and his court are indifferent to the sufferings of the population at large. They intend to await the end of the plague in luxury and safety behind the walls of their secure refuge, having welded the doors shut.

One night, Prospero holds a masquerade ball to entertain his guests in seven colored rooms of the abbey. Each of the first six rooms is decorated and illuminated in a specific color: blue, purple, green, orange, white, and violet. The last room is decorated in black and is illuminated by a scarlet light, "a deep blood color". Because of this chilling pairing of colors, very few guests are brave enough to venture into the seventh room. The same room is the location of a large ebony clock that ominously clangs at each hour, upon which everyone stops talking or dancing and the orchestra stops playing. Once the chiming stops, everyone immediately resumes the masquerade.

At the chiming of midnight, the revelers and Prospero notice a figure in a dark, blood-splattered robe resembling a funeral shroud. The figure's face resembles a mask that looks much like the rigid face of a corpse, and exhibits the traits of the Red Death. Gravely insulted, Prospero demands to know the identity of the mysterious guest so that they can hang him. The guests are too afraid to approach the figure, instead letting him pass through the seven chambers. The Prince pursues him with a drawn dagger until he is cornered in the seventh room. When the figure turns to face him, the Prince lets out a sharp cry and falls dead. The enraged and terrified revelers surge into the black room and forcibly remove the mask and robe, only to find to their horror that there is no solid form underneath. Only then do they realize that the figure is the Red Death itself, and all of the guests contract and succumb to the disease. The final line of the story sums up, "And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all." 2. Structure.
Exposition: description of life of that time, people, their lifetime
Complication: conflict between Prospero and other people, conflict of death and life.
Crises: the moment of epic confrontation, when the Red Death turns around to face Prospero.
Climax: Prospero runs for him and falls down and dies immediately
Resolution: the Masque is vanished and death of others 3. Characters. Round: Prospero Dynamic: the Red Death. (The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave; The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse; His vesture was dabbled in blood--and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror) Stock: the guests

4. Position of the narrator. The narrator speaks in the third-person and doesn't occupy any particular character's point of view. In fact, he doesn't even have much to do with the characters at all. Most of the time he's more interested in describing the setup of Prospero's party (creating the "atmosphere") 5. Setting. it devastated the countryside of Medieval Europe beginning in the 14th century, and occasionally caused people to shut themselves up for protection from the contaminated. But the symptoms of the diseases bear little relation to each other, besides the fact that they're both fatal. For all we know, the Red Death is entirely fictional, conjured up by Poe, as we said, just for spine-tingling effect. The story is set in Prince Prospero's luxurious "castellated abbey", hidden somewhere in his kingdom. To call it "cut off" is an understatement. Not only is it "deeply secluded" (hidden in a hard-to-reach spot), but Prospero and his followers have also welded the doors shut, so no one can get in or out. Everyone inside is having one big party; everyone outside is dying to get in. Well, actually just dying.

Literary devices:
Epithet: so fatal, or so hideous (pestilence-язва), was happy and dauntless and
Sagacious (was happy and dauntless and sagacious—отважен и изобретателен); This was an extensive and magnificent structure; A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. It was a voluptuous (сладострастный) scene, that masquerade; These were seven--an imperial suite (амфилада); the blood-tinted panes (окна); magnificent revel; His plans were bold and fiery(смелы и дерзки); blood-coloured panes
Simile: Blood was its Avatar and its seal; He had come like a thief in the night.
Metathor: the redness and the horror of blood; pest ban (печать отвержения); and his conceptions glowed with barbaric luster(замыслы полны варварским великолепием); There were delirious fancies such as the madman fashions; And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay (жизнь часов иссякла с жизнью последнего из собутыльников) Symbolism: The black and blood red room seems so obviously to represent death. The big, black, creep clock is located in the black room means a symbol of death. The effect is enhanced even more by that way the clock has of stopping all the dancing and music – in short, all the life – of the party, and making everyone laugh nervously. The abbey is a place of confinement(заключение). It's cut off and secluded. Beyond that, its doors are welded shut from the inside. Which means everyone's trapped: no one can get in or out. The sense of confinement (a staple of Gothic lit) is crucial to giving the story its "threatening" atmosphere. The Red Death is just a slightly revamped image of plain old Death. The story shows how it can't be escaped, and how Prospero's attempt to escape it is doomed(рок) ( red's a brighter and more dramatic color than black) Allegory: the suite is an allegory of human life. Each room, in other words, corresponds to a different "stage" of human life, which its color suggests. The first clue that the suite is allegorical is that the rooms are arranged from east to west. East is usually the direction associated with "beginnings," and birth, because the sun rises in the east; west (the direction of the sunset) is associated with endings, and death. The blue room, which is furthest to the east, represents birth. The color suggests the "unknown" from which a human being comes into the world. The next room is purple, a combination of blue (birth) and red (associated with life, intensity) suggests the beginnings of growth. Green, the next color, suggests the "spring" of life (youth), orange the summer and autumn of life. White, the next color, suggests age – think white hair, and bones. Violet (a combination of purple and blue, or purple and grey) is a shadowy color, and represents darkness and death. And black, obviously, is death. But our guess is that Poe wanted to save the color red in this story especially for its association with blood, fear, and death. That means it's always goes with black, just like the Red Death and the darkness go together at the end of the story, and red and black go together in the seventh room. If there were a red room, it would confuse the color system and obscure the meaning of "red." The fact that the revelers don't go into the black room indicates their fear of death. But besides that, remember that the Red Death walks from the blue room to the black room – it walks the course of life, leading from birth to death. Prospero follows that course when he chases it: he runs from the blue room to the black room, where he dies. His followers also rush into the black room to unmask the Red Death, and also die. So the course the characters walk in the story is both literally and metaphorically the course from life to death. A lot of the same stuff that suggests the masquerade is a dream – hat sense of unreality, hypermeaningfulness, exaggerated colors and imagery – may also suggest that the masquerade is a product of the imagination…an artist's imagination. For more on the art theme, check out Prospero's character analysis. Genre: Horror or Gothic Fiction, Fantasy, Literary Fiction Tone: Dark, Grave, and Ominous; at moments Delirious Objects: chamber (котел); glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm(блеск, пышность)

Poe's Red Death, it devastated the countryside of Medieval Europe beginning in the 14th century, and occasionally caused people to shut themselves up for protection from the contaminated. But the symptoms of the diseases bear little relation to each other, besides the fact that they're both fatal. For all we know, the Red Death is entirely fictional, conjured up by Poe, as we said, just for spine-tingling effect. grotesque

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

The Masque of the Red Death

...And darkness and decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.” What he means is the time ran out for the people in the...

Words: 461 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

The Masque of the Red Death

...Yet, the "masked figure'' who appears at the masquerade ball is the Red Death itself, which, despite all precautions, slips in like a thief in the night to claim the lives of everyone within, just as death eventually claims all mortals. The fact that the Red...

Words: 349 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

The Masque of the Red Death

...Without was the "Red Death". It was towards the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged...

Words: 2440 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

The Masque of Red Death

...Poe begins his short story, “The Masque of the Red Death” by describing the setting of the scene. “The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there were wine. All these and security were within. Without was the “Red Death” (Poe 516). Poe is putting the reader in a fun mindset about the Prince’s Abbey but ends it with suspicion. Poe uses symbolism in the setting so the reader can understand the meaning of the story. The Castled Abbey is a secluded place. The prince lures the people in by throwing a masquerade ball. Once you are in there is no way out. “A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall has gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither ingress nor egress” (“Poe 516”). The abbey symbolizes the prince’s power. He has people thinking they’re keeping the “Red Death” outside but, in all reality they are trapped in. The abbey included seven rooms. The rooms were arranged from east to west. East is usually the direction associated with the “beginnings,” and birth, because the sunrises in the east; west (the direction of the sunset) is associated with the endings, and death. ( “Shmoop”). Each room was a different color. The first one was blue ending with the seventh room which was black....

Words: 577 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Masque of the Red Death

...In Aesop’s fable, “The Wolf and the Lamb,” the moral of the story asks the reader to examine the desire for an object—and how we justify our behavior if we cannot obtain that object. This moral is graphically presented through the repeated use of key words to describe the fox’s repeated failure to get what he wants. The fox’s first attempt is foiled as he “just missed” the grapes (35). He attempts “again and again”, running and jumping repeatedly, but has “no greater success” (35). He then becomes disgusted and walks away. These successive descriptions of his failure build to his disdainful comment that the grapes are probably sour (35). The repeated demonstration of fox’s failures and his self-rationalization of why is he walking away—not that he has failed but because he has decided that the grapes are sour and he does not want them anyway—cleverly portrays the moral of the fable: if you can’t get it, blame something else, not yourself. It therefore asks the readers to Aesop’s Fables 3 of 93 The Wolf and the Lamb Once upon a time a Wolf was lapping at a spring on a hillside, when, looking up, what should he see but a Lamb just beginning to drink a little lower down. ‘There’s my supper,’ thought he, ‘if only I can find some excuse to seize it.’ Then he called out to the Lamb, ‘How dare you muddle the water from which I am drinking?’ ‘Nay, master, nay,’ said Lambikin; ‘if the water be muddy up there, I cannot be the cause of it, for it runs down from you to me.’ ......

Words: 2065 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Masque of the Red Death

...Whoever the new guest is, he's decided to dress as a corpse, a corpse who died of…the Red Death. He's so frighteningly lifelike (deathlike?) he freaks everybody out, and he slowly starts "stalking" through the frightened crowd. When Prince Prospero sees the ghostly guest, he's...

Words: 3003 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

The Masque of the Red Death

...The Masque of the Red Death Do you think Prince Prospero is a tragic hero, or a fool? Support your opinion with evidence from the text. The short story "Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Alan Poe, essentially, is the story narrating about the human desire to avoid death and the final result of such avoidance. The main character, Prince Prospero is shown as a complete fool by the attitude he has towards his life, kingdom, and other people. We can notice that Poe right away shows Prince Prospero to be fatally flawed by naming him Shakespeare’s term for wealth and the magician from the story “The Tempest" who was a sorcerer and could make the products of his imagination real. Like Shakespeare's Prospero, Prince Prospero in Poe’s story uses his magic to arrange a fairy-tale and fabulous revel. And same as the other Prospero, his carousal is doomed to come to an end. From Prince Prospero’s actions we can infer that he is a terrible person as well as an awful ruler. He doesn’t think about suffering of his people. He behaves like he just doesn’t notice the peasants dying of the plague: “The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think”. The only thing Prince Prospero does in this deplorable situation is dancing, drinking and basically having fun while the dreadful “Red Death” is killing the innocent people of his country: “But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious....

Words: 359 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

The Masque of the Red Death

...“The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allen Poe is an eerie short story about the “Red Death”, Poe’s twist on the Black Plague. This plague swept across an unknown kingdom killing many people as it went. There were sharp pain, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. Poe had two main themes for readers to think about. These themes were proven through five main symbols: The ebony clock in the black room, Prince Prospero in the abbey with his friends, the colors of the seven rooms in the abbey, the format of the hallway and rooms and, Prince Prospero running after death through all the rooms. One theme that Poe intended to portray is the fact that death can’t be cheated or escaped, no matter how powerful or prosperous a person is. In the short story, Prince Prospero tries to hide from the “Red Death”. After some time the “Red Death” slips into the abbey taking Prince Prospero’s Life. This proves that even the most prosperous die. Another theme that Poe tries to portray is that people can’t go through life feeling that they are invincible and death will never get them. When the ebony clock in the black room tolled out every hour, the guest ignored their nervous sensations and continued with their masquerade. After the ebony clock tolled the last hour of the night, every guest in the abbey died. The ebony clocked symbolizes the time that goes by leading up a person’s death....

Words: 906 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Masque of the Red Death Essay

...The Masque of the Red Death “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allen Poe is an eerie short story about the “Red Death”, Poe’s twist on the Black Plague. This plague swept across an unknown kingdom killing many people as it went. There were sharp pain, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. Poe had two main themes for readers to think about. These themes were proven through five main symbols: The ebony clock in the black room, Prince Prospero in the abbey with his friends, the colors of the seven rooms in the abbey, the format of the hallway and rooms and, Prince Prospero running after death through all the rooms.One theme that Poe intended to portray is the fact that death can’t be cheated or escaped, no matter how powerful or prosperous a person is. In the short story, Prince Prospero tries to hide from the “Red Death”. After some time the “Red Death” slips into the abbey taking Prince Prospero’s Life. This proves that even the most prosperous die. Another theme that Poe tries to portray is that people can’t go through life feeling that they are invincible and death will never get them. When the ebony clock in the black room tolled out every hour, the guest ignored their nervous sensations and continued with their masquerade. After the ebony clock tolled the last hour of the night, every guest in the abbey died. The ebony clocked symbolizes the time that goes by leading up a person’s death....

Words: 911 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Poe's the Masque (Mask) of the Red Death

...The Masque of Red Death People don't really have that much in common, but they do have one big thing in common, that is death. Death is the one thing that no one can stop. The short story "The Masque of Red Death," by Edger Allen Poe shows how that statement is true. Poe was a man who had had many experiences with a disease that killed many people in his life, in his story "The Masque of Red Death," he uses a lot of symbolic messages to express his views and feelings on that disease. Edger Allan Poe stated out with a home life that wasn't very stable. His blood father left when Poe was about one. His mother was an actress that moved Poe's sister, brother , and himself around a lot. Then when he was three she died of tuberculoses. After his mothers death Poe was separated from his sister and brother. Poe was sent to the Allen family. Then when Poe was in his early twenties Mrs. Allen also died of tuberculoses. At the age of twenty-six Poe married his cousin Virginia. She later died of tuberculoses. His brother died of tuberculoses also. In "The Masque of Red Death," Poe uses color as a symbol. He used the colors red, blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet, and black. In the story red stand for the death that comes over everyone in the story....

Words: 564 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Masque of the Red Death vs. the Cask of Amontillado

...Other features common to the gothic literature of the narratives were mysteries in the shape of the mysterious shrouded figure in “The Masques of the Red Death” and how Montresor would avenge himself against Fortunato in “The Mask of Amontillado” and the fact the setting was in a palace; just like the setting in “The Masque of the Red Death, which were normally used frequently to set gothic ideas. The stories are alike which shared a minor theme, even though the main subject matter differed greatly. Reprimanding those who indulged excessively in luxuries at the expense of others, “The Masque of the Red Death” could have been seen as an aristocratic...

Words: 1557 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

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

...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....

Words: 915 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Inevitability of the Red Death

...The Inevitability of the Red Death Edgar Allen Poe's “The Masque of the Red Death” is an extravagant allegory of the futility of trying to escape death. In the story, a prince named Prospero tries to avoid the Red Death through isolation and seclusion. He hides behind the impenetrable walls of his castle and turns his back on the rest of the world. But no walls can stop death because it is unavoidable and inevitable. Through the use of character, setting, point of view, and symbol, Poe reveals the theme that no one, regardless of status, wealth or power can stay the passing of time and the inevitable conclusion of life itself, death. Like many of Poe’s works, the number of characters in “Masque of the Red Death” is limited; however they all work to reveal the theme. Only three characters, Prince Prospero, the Thousand Friends and the Masked Figure are mentioned. The central figure of the story is Prince Prospero. The author describes him as “happy and dauntless and sagacious” (Poe, 386). His name is used to infer royalty, wealth and happiness, and suggests that the prince is untroubled by the plague and is confident of his survival and the survival of his one thousand friends. Prospero has been described by scholars as a “feelingless ruling prince” (Wheat, 51). This is due to his apparent lack of concern for the people of his land: “The external world could take care of itself” (Poe, 386)....

Words: 1908 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Prescence of Poe

...Presence of Poe Edgar Allan Poe is regarded as one of the great American writers in history. He had a unique way to present his stories, his imagination stretched into the darkest corners of his mind. One can say his characters were developed from personal experiences in his life. His use of writing techniques was ingenious and unsurpassed. These are just a few reasons why he is a permanent reminder whenever horror stories come to mind. Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. His parents were David and Elizabeth Poe. He was one of three children including his brother Henry and his sister Rosalie. His mother separated from his father when he was about two years of age and took her children with her. She died about a year later, when he was two years of age. He was separated from his siblings and was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. John Allan; this is where his name became Edgar Allan Poe. John Allan was a successful merchant, so Poe grew up in good surroundings and attended excellent schools. When he was six, he was sent to school in England and attended for five years. He then returned to the United States to continue his studies. At seventeen, Poe went to the University of Virginia but dropped out less than a year later because he could not support himself. John Allan shunned him. He enlisted in the Army because he had no money and nowhere to go at the age of eighteen. He did reasonably well attaining, the rank of sergeant-major, and got accepted to...

Words: 1747 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

My Psychoanalytic Views of Two Short Stories

...Psychoanalytic literary criticism is a very common method of analyzing stories such as The White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett, Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe. Sylvia, a shy girl, who is rather naive and innocent. For most of her life has been sheltered from the atrocities of life. Being shielded from the outside world she hasn’t come to the conclusion that people can be bad. However this changes when a handsome and mysterious stranger wanders in her area. At first she intimidated by the man but is very eager to assist the man and wants to make a good impression. When finding the heron true changes begin to form in Sylvia. In sparing the heron she is more confident in her decision and assertive, she is willing ignore a person’s approval in order to preserve a beautiful part of nature. The white heron can represent Sylvia’s purity or innocence. According to psychosexual analysis the tree in which Sylvia climbs can be a phallic symbol for the ornithologist. While going through the forest with the ornithologist, he takes the lead although Sylvia is familiar with the terrain,...

Words: 1454 - Pages: 6