Poe's Masque Of The Red Death
3 Pages 796 Words
Poe used the setting of “The Masque of the Red Death” to
depict an atmosphere characterized by a sense of
inevitability of death and one of somber morbidity. He used
the castle, clock of ebony, and the masked figure’s chasing
of the prince to express the atmosphere in a detailed
The castle provided a place for the story to unfold.
It allowed the reader to interpret a sense of entrapment
that carried into the plot. As the prince secured the
castle, in an attempt to avert the plague of the Red Death,
he was also eliminating any means of escape once the disease
infiltrated the area. The prince’s solution to averting
death was to seclude himself with his royal friends and
celebrate with all of the amenities of being wealthy. “There
were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet
dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was
wine.” However, in his naive attempts to lock himself in,
the prince was allowing the deaths of those outside of his
realm and locking himself out of the outside world at the
same time. Therefore, as Prince Prospero put up the “gates
of iron” and “welded the bolts,” he became a prisoner of
sorts, without refuge.
The castle was also depicted as a maze. With the
disposition of the apartments being restricted, there was a
single way out, through the black room. This disposition
was representative of the stages of life. The sharp turns
leading to a novel effect were the decisions one must make.
Also, each room prohibited a view of the others, with the
exception of only the following room. Therefore, one could
not see the future, only the next phase of life. Although
each room had a large window, one could not see the outside
world. Because the view from the windows was of the
corridors, again Poe provided a feeling of confinement.
Each room, being of a different color, represented the
phases of existence, from birth towa...
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