ELA Pd. 3
13 January 2023
Death, the Illimitable Force
What is the one thing that humans will never be able to control? The answer is death. “The Masque of the Red Death,” by Edgar Allen Poe is a story about a horrific, bloody disease spreading through Europe, and a Prince who deserted his people. Instead of helping the citizens, the Prince Prospero chose to invite all of his friends to a lavish hideaway, where they would all live in seclusion from the Red Death. Meanwhile, the world around them suffered in anguish. The short story “The Masque of the Red Death,” by Edgar Allan Poe uses symbolism and foreshadowing, to show that death and fate are the most unpredictable and inevitable forces.
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Using repetition, Poe insinuates the death of Prince and his friends.Gerald Kennedy wrote, “Death weighs upon the group because it is thrice present: first in the pallid countenances of the men themselves as reflected on the ebony table; then in the corpse of 'young Zoilus,' whose unclosed eyes reveal a 'bitterness'; finally in the 'dark and undefined shadow' that issues from the sable draperies and fixes itself upon the door” (Kennedy). The repeating appearance of death foreshadows the fate of the characters which creates an anxious tension in order to foreshadow something terrible will happen. In Prince Prospero’s abbey, there were seven rooms made for partying, each a different color. Poe wrote, “The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this chamber only, the color of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet -- a deep blood color” (Poe). The scarlet panes and black tapestries are meant to remind the reader of death, as well as the disease itself, which is characterized by its bloody nature. The death of the revelers is consistently foreshadowed throughout the story, and it helps create an unsettling and pretentious mood, reminding that death …show more content…
From research humans can understand that, “...we experience death as a "complex symbol" that changes as human beings pass through successive stages of consciousness. But the primal, embedded meaning of death, which all of our "immortality projects'' seek to overcome, is that of terrifying annihilation” (Kennedy). All people are afraid to die in some capacity, and Prince Prospero is no different. He sought to overcome his death through an elaborate hideaway, but still death comes for all. It comes regardless of whether one is ready for it, since it is outside the realm of human control, and therefore inevitable. In his story Poe wrote, “He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revelers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all" (Poe). From this quote, the reader can understand that the Red Death is an unstoppable force, as it has, “illimitable dominion over all,” and nothing else has the power to challenge
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Poe builds suspense in "The Masque of the Red Death" by using foreshadowing to hint at the tragic end that awaits the characters. For example, the description of the Red Death as a "pestilence" that is "fatal" and "hideous" foreshadows the eventual death of the guests. In addition, the description of the last room is completely covered in black decorations with red-colored windows foreshadowing the tragic end that awaits the guests. The use of the color red and the imagery of blood thoughts the story also serves as foreshadowing for the tragic end. The ending of the story, in which the figure disguised as the Red Death causes the death of the guests, including the prince, is both shocking and inevitable.
In addition, using the word ‘blood’ ties to the overall theme of the story: death. His storytelling is very visual; the imagery that he provides through diction alone is very detailed and in depth. Poe’s intricate choice of words not only vividly describes the setting, but creates indirect characterization. Poe’s choice of complex words are not often used in everyday language, which fits the context of the story. Right from the beginning, Poe shows the drastic divide in class and the disconnection between Prince Prospero and his people as the narrator states, “When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys” (Poe, 1).
Endeavour to Escape Death Humans have been fascinated by the human life cycle and how it inevitably ends in death. Fate is inevitable and there is no way to escape it, yet humans go to great lengths to try and avoid it. Fear of death underpins many peoples actions and drives them to do things they would not normally do. Edgar Allen Poe reinforces this idea through his literary work in “The Masque of the Red Death” as his protagonist reflects humanity’s fear of the inevitable. This can be examined through the use of foreshadowing, characterization and symbolism throughout “The Masque of the Red Death”.
The figure referred to as the mummer or the stranger chases Prospero through all the rooms and kills him in the final black and red room, and following that, he kills all the courtiers. It is addressed that this figure is the Red Death himself, as he snuck into the party and robbed them of their lives and joy because they didn’t acknowledge his presence before, but in the end, he had dominion over them. This allegory presents that the refusal to address one’s fears is an ignorant act that merely delays consequences, and it is further progressed by the castle rooms, the clock, and the stranger. Through the symbol of the castle rooms, “The Masque of the Red Death” conveys the ignorance of avoiding inevitable fears.
Everyone is bound to die no matter how privileged they are. Edgar Allan Poe explores this truthful yet unwanted opinion through his short story, “The Masque of the Red Death”. Prince Prospero believes that because of his privilege that the disease will not affect his friends or him. Prince Prospero throws a party even though many people are dying. The allegory of the story is comparing the red death to the plague which was a mass spread of disease that conquered Europe and Asia in the 1300s.
The Underlying Themes of Disease in The Masque of the Red Death Disease being a main predator of the human race, has killed and destroyed humanity as a whole in most of history. The Masque of the Red Death was written by Edgar Allen Poe as a disturbing piece of literature to highlight concepts of disease and their effects on the psychology of the human mind and actions. The head of royalty, Prince Prospero reacts to the conflict of disease by hiding away in his castle throwing extravagant masquerades for those who are wealthy and known whilst leaving his people to die from illness. However this falls apart as the infectious fear travels through the courtiers as time passes. Seemingly this fear becomes reality as a stranger enters the castle
The word choice of “fatal” shows the intensity of the illness, as the negative connotation that is created also shows that the illness was more than just “serious” and severe,” as death can not be avoided. This indicates the feeling of hopelessness, as if one was to contract this illness Even during a time where the illness was not as dire, it was always present creating an ominous feeling. During the early stages of the
“The Mask of the Red Death” showed his struggle with losing people to tuberculosis; tuberculosis caused its victims to bleed from the inside out and Poe used “The Mask of the Red Death” to personify tuberculosis after he had lost many loved ones due to it. “The Raven” pictured a narrator longing for his lost love; Poe wrote this as he was aware that he would soon relate to this narrator when Virginia passed away. “Annabel Lee” was written as a memorial to his lost love who also fell victim to
Has fear ever caused you to commit an act you knew was morally wrong? Fear can get a hold of someone and completely change their morals, concerns, or how they feel about certain people. It can cloud your mind and make you think irrationally in certain situations. Fear is a feeling that can harm someone emotionally and physically. In stories such as: “The Tell-Tale Heart”, ”The Pit and the Pendulum”, and “The Masque of Red Death”, Edgar Allan Poe displays the use of symbolism, irony, and imagery to paint a picture in the reader’s mind.
“If life must not be taken too seriously, then so neither must death” -Samuel Butler. Perhaps some believe in this quote although on a deeper level it can be seen as foolish and ignorant. In the short story, “The Masque of the Red Death”, the author, Edgar Allan Poe, applies an abundance of literary devices to make evident the foolishness of ignoring death’s inevitability by comparing life and death. Essentially Poe utilizes allusions throughout the story to barry a deeper meaning into the text of the story.
People have always tried to avoid death, but they cannot. In Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” the characters are trying to avoid the Red Death, but they fail. Every hour an ebony clock chimes indicating that life is passing and death is close. People begin to die every minute once the Red Death enters.
No one can defeat Death There once was a young woman, who strived to be immortal, this caused her to bind herself away from the world for years. She decided one day that she had conquered death by changing her fate and goes to venture the town where she met a strange man, who insults her, filled with anger she decides to go after him where she faces death. A very similar situation is portrayed in “The Masque of the Red Death” with the character Prince Prospero, who believes that he has changed his fate by locking himself in his palace for years but this doesn’t end well for him as he faces death in his own home. In “The Masque of the Red Death”, written by Edgar Allen Poe, irony and symbolism to is used prove that death is inevitable.
“The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own fancy grew warm with the Medoc. We had passed through walls of piled bones, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs.” (Poe, paragraph 50). Through Poe’s writings, he regularly shows strong descriptions which help convey