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Poe’s “Mask Of The Red Death” Can Be Interpreted As An Allegory Of Life Itself

2 Pages 583 Words

In the “Mask of the Red Death” Poe uses many symbols to create links to the living world. Through the use of setting, objects of human manufacture and the metaphors associated with many of these objects, Poe creates a realistic setting in which to teach us a lesson about life or death. The use of the rooms as a progression through life, their offset placement not allowing a view of what is to come, the eerie chiming count down of the clock, and the last and blackest of rooms as Prince Prospero final resting place are all ways in which Poe uses symbols to create and allegory to life.

The rooms and their color are essential in that through the use of color they convey our mortality. The progressively darkening colors can be seen a stages of life. When we are young all is bright and new but as we grow older the color starts to fade until nothing is left and all is black. The Red Death completes this journey, appearing in the first room and making his way through the crowd to the to the final and blackest of rooms. Even the placement of the clock in the last room can be interpreted as a symbol that time is up life is over.

The placement of the rooms is essential in a way that they don’t allow you to cheat in the view. Just as in life you are rarely allowed a glimpse of what is to come the rooms with their offset nature allow no view of each other. To find out what is around the corner you must make the journey through the room you are in and progress to the next just as in life. Without this journey or progression none of us would grow in mind or thought and thus be confined to the same color and position for all our days. Even the cardinal direction of the last room can be seen as an end to our time here. Its west-facing window is doomed to see the setting of the sun always; no dawn or new ray of life will ever enter into the blackness.

The placement of the clock it the final room is yet another allegory of life. ...

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