Comparative Essay- Rachel Orbach In “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe, and “To

900 WordsApr 23, 20194 Pages
Comparative Essay- Rachel Orbach In “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe, and “To Build a Fire” by Jack London, both authors use similar protagonists who unwillingly have to face their death. Prince Prospero, in “The Masque of Red Death”, is avoiding a deadly plague by hiding in his castle with his kinsmen, and the man in “To Build a Fire” is traveling in the freezing weather trying to abstain from hypothermia and death. Prince Prospero and the man, while different from one another, are both trying to fight their ineludible destiny. While “To Build a Fire” takes place in the cold Alaskan frontier, and “The Masque of Red Death” is set in an isolated abbey, Poe and London both express through stubborn protagonists that…show more content…
The man’s arrogance causes him to believe that he is subjected from listening to the man from Sulphur Creeks’ advice about traveling in the cold alone. London expresses through the man’s arrogance how no one is an exception to death because death is certain for everyone. Prince Prospero, hiding in his secluded castle, and the man, continuing his journey despite the threatening temperatures, both realize while dying that regardless how powerful or wise one may be, everyone is destined for death. Poe and London express in their writings through similar arrogant protagonists that regardless how powerful one is, no one is able to conquer nature. Prince Prospero’s pompous opinions of himself cause him to physically fight the Red Death, and since no one is stronger than death, he is defeated. Alone in the black room, the prince’s arrogance causes him to draw a dagger in attempt of murdering the “retreating figure”, without engaging in a fight, the Red Death swiftly kills the prince (Poe 4). At this point of the story, Prince Prospero is not behaving like a coward like when he hides from the Red Death, his pride is causing him to believe he has the capability of fighting death. Poe shows through the prince’s determination that one cannot defeat death despite one’s tenacity. While the man in “To Build a Fire” never physically fights death, he is fighting the urgent need of making a fire due to the cold because he believes he is invincible to the freezing weather. The

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