A symbolism of disease in the masque of red death by edgar allan poe

Even though this disease is spreading rampantly, the prince, Prospero, feels happy and hopeful. He decides to lock the gates of his palace in order to fend off the plague, ignoring the illness ravaging the land.

A symbolism of disease in the masque of red death by edgar allan poe

In this ancient play, the main character is named Everyman and early in the play while walking down the road, he meets another character called Death. Everyman cries out to him: This essential theme is presented directly and with extreme economy through the plot, or narrative element.

The story opens with a recounting of a plague, the "Red Death"; it has long been devastating the country, and the narrator describes the process of the disease, emphasizing the redness of the blood and the scarlet stains.

Related Questions Symbolism in "The Masque of the Red Death" written by: Learn all that and more with this guide to symbolism.
Color Symbolism Plot summary[ edit ] Illustration of Prince Prospero confronting the "Red Death" by Arthur RackhamThe story takes place at the castellated abbey of the "happy and dauntless and sagacious" Prince Prospero.

The disease is so deadly rapid that one is dead within thirty minutes after he is infected. Thus, in the short opening paragraph, Poe uses such words as devastated, pestilence, fatal, hideous, horror of blood, sharp pains, profuse bleeding, scarlet stains, victim, disease and death — and all these words, gathered together, create an immediate effect of the horror of death caused by the "Red Death.

After setting the tone, Poe next underscores his theme by suggesting the folly of these foolish people who think that they can escape death by such physical barriers as high walls and iron gates. The contrast of the gaiety within and the ravaging death outside, as described at the beginning of the story, contributes to the overall effect the author is after.

Likewise, the people are entertained by the merriment of a "masked" ball, described in almost surrealistic terms.


Many critics have looked for a consistent symbolic pattern in the seven rooms in which the ball is held, but Poe eschewed elaborate symbolic structures and, instead, worked for a unity of effect. One method he often used for this effect was to have his stories take place in a closed circle where one has the impression of there being no escape.

Consequently, the inhabitants are locked inside the castle by the high walls and the gates of iron, and they are further enclosed during the ball by the circular, enclosed seven halls. Accordingly, when the stranger, masked as "the Red Death," walks through the room, he passes in close proximity to all of the revelers.

The importance of the seven rooms lies in the seventh and, therefore, the last room. As the narrator describes the rooms, we are told that the window panes look out onto the hall rather than the outside world, and that they take on the colors and hues of the decoration of each room.

The first room is decorated in blue and the stained glass has a blue hue. The second is purple and so "the panes are purple. However, the seventh room is different.

Here the apartment is "shrouded in black velvet," but the panes are "scarlet — a deep blood-color.

Expert Answers

In reality, no such place as the black room would be used as a part of a ballroom. But Poe wants to achieve an effect — a total, unified effect — in order to show the close proximity of the revelry of life and the masquerade to the inevitability of death itself. Black usually symbolizes death, and it is usually used in connection with death.

Moreover, in describing the black decor of the room, the narrator says that it is shrouded in velvet, shrouded being a word always referring to death. Likewise, the window panes are "scarlet — a deep blood color.

It is as though each hour is "to be stricken" upon their brief and fleeting lives. To emphasize the brevity of life, the fleeting of life and time, and the nearness of death, Poe reminds the reader that between the striking of each hour, there elapses "three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies.

The guests have donned costumes that are often grotesque; there is "much glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm"; there are "arabesque figures" and "madman fashions.In this lesson, we will study Edgar Allan Poe's short story, 'The Masque of the Red Death.' After a brief summary of the plot, we will analyze the story's symbols and motifs and discuss its theme.

A symbolism of disease in the masque of red death by edgar allan poe

Summary. In "The Masque of the Red Death," Poe presents an age-old theme, a theme as old as the medieval morality play ashio-midori.com this ancient play, the main character is named Everyman and early in the play while walking down the road, he meets another character called Death.

Three of the major symbols in Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" are definitely the clock, rooms, and the sun. The rooms are percieved as two things, the different stages of life, blue being birth, black being death, and the .

"The Masque of the Red Death", originally published as "The Mask of the Red Death: A Fantasy", is an short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe.

“The Masque of the Red Death” (1845)

The story follows Prince Prospero's attempts to avoid a dangerous plague, known as the Red Death, by hiding in his abbey. This essay presents information about Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Masque of the Red Death." The essay provides a plot summary of the novel and contextualizes the content through an exploration of historical, religious, scientific & technological, societal and biographical information.

Arrogance Kills Edgar Allen Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" is a typical dark Poe story, but it contains some unique themes and symbolism. In the story a disease known as the Red Death is ravaging the fictional place where the story is set, and it causes its victims to die quickly and painfully.

What are the symbols in "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe? | eNotes