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How Does Poe Use Symbols In The Masque Of The House Of Usher

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Symbolism has the potential to deliver a very powerful message, while conveying a hidden and more complex meaning behind the objects, characters, and places presented in a short story. Edgar Allan Poe cleverly weaves symbolic meaning into characters and objects in order to convey the central message of each short story. Symbolism creates a deeper understanding between the reader and message of each short story. In “The Masque of the Red Death” and “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Poe effectively uses symbolism to reinforce theme.
Poe uses a shifting color scheme and a clock of ebony in “The Masque of the Red Death” to reinforce the overall theme that death has dominion over all things. The color scheme shifts dramatically in the description of the rooms in the castle of Prince Prospero. The first six rooms are decorated with lively colors; however, Poe’s narrator describes the seventh room by declar-ing, “The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls [. . .], 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 286). In constructing this room, Poe associates the colors black and red with time and death. The Scarlet, blood color, is used by Poe to emphasize the power death holds, while the gloomy black drapes and carpet create the ominous sense of mourning and grief that death brings. Prince Prospero attempts to block death out; however, the presence of death is felt everywhere
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By understanding the meaning of each symbol, the reader gains a deeper insight to the overall message of the short story. Poe proves symbolism to be an effective tool to add depth and meaning to the central theme, while still enhancing reader’s
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