Motifs In The Masque Of The Red Death

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After reading many unique stories of great author and poet of his time, Edgar Allan Poe, many may perceive his stories as disturbing, gruesome, or perplexing. Although most of his stories revolve around madness or death, several would be taken back by the fact that he was indeed a true romantic at heart. Throughout his literature, Poe frequently applies the heart motif to impact the characters, move the plot along, and/or affect the reader. The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Masque of the Red Death all are highly symbolic and utilize the heart in a similar way but different situation. To begin with, the heart motif is used in The Tell-Tale Heart. For instance, “It was the beating of the old man’s heart. It increased my fury, as the beating …show more content…

Poe writes, “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?” (Poe 167). In other words, the heart here is symbolizing the narrator’s love, Lenore. The narrator called out, anticipating that his love has returned, but is in great distress when “an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!” (Poe 167). Poe utilizes the heart in order to impact the character. The narrator is in great dismay that Lenore is apart from him and feels awful after the raven utters “Nevermore” repeatedly. He then begins getting furious. Thus, leading the narrator to yell, “Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!” (Poe 170). Deeply affected by the raven and the loss of Lenore, the infuriated narrator wants the Raven to leave his room and leave him alone, along with his broken heart. Furthermore, the instant when the narrator has had enough, helps push the story …show more content…

However, in the Masque of the Red Death the heart is merely symbolic and is not easily discovered directly in the text. The setting of the story takes place in a total of seven rooms. The number seven represents a whole unit of time, as in life and death. Although, there was one room in particular that stood out the most from all. “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.” (Poe 3). As shown in the evidence, the room was black and dark which one would generally associate with death. Poe also compares the seventh room to the others, in order to clearly show a difference in all rooms by saying “But these other apartments were densely crowded, and in them beat feverishly the heart of life.” (Poe 5). In short, the six other rooms represented life or the heart, which is required in order to live. The purpose of incorporating the motif in this way, was alike to the way it was used in the other two stories. The characters were impacted, as nobody would dare step into the room of death, and it moved the plot along, when a mysterious stranger became apparent and reminded everyone about the forgotten fear. So what is the similarity between each story and the usage of the heart motif? In each story the heart represents life. In The

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