Dichotomy of Colors in Poe's The Masque (Mask) of the Red Death
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Dichotomy of Colors in The Masque of Red Death
In "The Masque of Red Death," Poe uses aural, visual, and kinetic images to create the effect of fear in a joyful masque. Poe starts off with a description of the "Red Death." He gives gory detail of how it seals one's fate with Blood. He tells of pain, horror and bleeding. Moreover, the pestilence kills quickly and alienates the sick. This is Poe's image of death. He only bothers to tell it's symptoms. He doesn't go into the fear present in the lives of people with the disease. He describes the scene of redness and blood streaming from the pores, the face. His description of the afflicted's pain also adds to the graphically explicit exposé of the red death disease. The red death…show more content…
The portrait of happy and lively musicians gives an ambiance to a room as well as provides the "mood" of relaxing music. Additional associations related to the sight of iron gates, security, as well as the humor of the improvisatori give a sense of a safe and enjoyable environment. The improvisatori provide a distraction, much like modern day movies; they are enjoyable and entertaining. Thus Poe has contrasted gore with happiness.
Within the joyful complex, there are seven apartments. Prospero's apartments are decorated in color themes. One apartment's decor is completely blue. Other apartments are purple, green, orange, white, violet, and finally black. The tastefully decorated rooms have a pleasing and calming effect on the partygoers. Without detailing much of the setup of each apartment, Poe creates a sensation of comfort and ease except for the final black room. Poe speaks of tapestries, colored window panes, and furnishings. Each room was uniform, comfortable, and well planned out, but the last black apartment had the interior design faux pas of red curtains. Until the last apartment, the setting sets an enjoyable mood by the images of a well decorated compound. Poe sensationalizes the "misplaced" last apartment by calling it gaudy and fantastic. The use of fire tripods in the complex also creates an eerie effect. Poe creates an environment of mystery, implying a certain evil with the black room and its placement as