Allusions In The Masque Of The Red Death

Decent Essays

In the words of Seneca the Younger, well-known Roman Philosopher, “Oh, what darkness does great prosperity cast over our minds!”. In Edgar Allan Poe’s 1842 story, “The Masque of The Red Death”. The story takes place during the 1300’s during the ravage that was the Bubonic plague, referred to as the Red Death by Poe. Many argue the identity of the narrator in this story, but it is lucid that they are a figure of biblical proportion due to Poe’s use of allusions to the Bible, “Tempest”, and the Red Death as an Anti-Christ.
The narrator of “The Masque of The Red Death” is a divine being due to Poe’s liberal use of allusions to the Bible. An example of one of the may aforementioned allusions being, “And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all”. Through Poe’s use of the phrase “dominion over all,” he reverses Paul’s statement in Romans 6:9, in which “death hath no more dominion”(Cheney). This section of the Bible, in particular, refers to the resurrection of Christ and how “He cannot die again; death no longer has dominion over Him”(New International Version Romans 6.9). Because of this one can interpret Poe’s allusion to the Red Death as a divine apparition of death. Along with his allusion to Romans 6:9, “Poe inverts the Pauline conception of baptism by presenting his characters being ‘bedewed’ in the unholy baptismal ‘blood’ of the Red Death”(Cheney). Baptism in the New Testament is unquestionable to allow for the sinner’s sins to be removed

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