The Masque Of The Red Death And The Tell Tale Heart Analysis

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I agree that both “The Masque of the Red Death” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe can be described as short stories that value symbol over plot. Poe uses various symbols to disclose information or details to the reader, while also leaving components of the story open to interpretation. This symbolism tells its own story within the overall plot, rather than it being explained clearly by the author, cleverly adding to the interest of the read. This effective allegory allows the reader to question their literal understanding of the story, once faced with the deeper philosophical ideas. This means that in the case of these two short stories, symbols are valued over plot. In “The Masque of the Red Death” Poe creates strong images of various decorative rooms which have been designed to go from east to west. This is no coincidence, as the rooms seem to imitate the course of the sun from daytime to nighttime, or even the course of human life- birth to death. The first room, coated in the colour blue, represents the freedom and tranquility felt by the guests in the castle. In contrast, the final room, coated in the colour black symbolises the fear and despair felt by the guests in relation to death and its inevitability. This idea is emphasised strongly by the author, as is written, “and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all.” (The Masque of the Red Death).

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