Irrationality In The Masque Of The Red Death

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“(Edgar Allan Poe) was born without human emotions, or with them so submerged in his intellect that he could almost be said to have been a man without a heart.” (Yewdale 695) Poe 's intense interest with the phenomenon of death and the afterlife started when he was merely two years old, when his mother and father both died of tuberculosis. In his youth, “Poe was so morbid that he used to go at night to the graveyard and sit near the grave of one of his beloved friends.” (Yewdale 690) Throughout his work, Poe argues the irrationality of fearing death through his exploitation of human fear, his dissection of the powers of the human mind, and the irrationality of irrationality itself. Poe utilizes fear to diminish even the most powerful of…show more content…
His vesture was dabbled in blood-and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.” (Poe 303) Robert Shulman writes: “Poe often seeks to find metaphoric equivalents for his explicit theoretical concerns - with identity and oneness in unexpected guises, with the importance of analogy, with the life and death power of writing supernatural and finally fatal visions, with the terror and awe of moving from life to death...” (Shulman 250) Prince Prospero’s ill-fated attempt to escape the plague only led him to inevitable death, only in a more gruesome manner than the plague. Poe writes about the event, describing the Prince Prospero as he chases the cloaked figure around with a knife, full of rage: “Prince Prospero, maddened with rage and the shame of his own momentary cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six chambers... He bore aloft a drawn dagger, and had approached, in rapid impetuosity, to within three or four feet of the retreating figure, when the latter, having attained the extremity of the velvet apartment, turned suddenly and confronted his pursuer.” (Poe 304) Poe follows this with a confrontation between the personified Red Death and the Prince, which inevitably ends with the Prince, dead on the ground. Prince Prospero is unable to escape death, supporting Poe’s CONSISTENT THEME OF THE INEVITABILITY OF
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