Encounters with Death in The Masque of Red Death Essays

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Encounters with Death in The Masque of Red Death

After reading Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of Red Death" (317-22), the reader can only conclude that death is the theme once again in another thrilling horror tale. Other critics such as Patricia H. Wheat, view this tale as a battle between life and death (51-56). Yet, Leonard Cassuto brings an interesting theory to this tale--"According to the narrator's own account, no one survives the Red Death. The only one who(lives) is Death. The narrator must be death himself" (317-20). Reflecting back to the various critical analogies on tone, character, and allegory on "The Masque of Red Death" a certain aspect of this work has yet to be defined. The plague that devastated a
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Virgina Clemm, Poe's thirteen-year-old cousin who he loved dearly and eventually married, also succumbed to a similar fate as his mother. While singing she had burst a blood vessel in her throat, causing profuse bleeding and the coughing up of blood. She simply bled to death. Again Poe was forced to watch helplessly and endure another "Masque of Red Death." In comparison, to better understand the probability of this affliction we should refer to Marie Bonapartes" Analytical Interpretation": "Haemoptyses do not last long, either: they occur suddenly and the scarlet blood appears, especially on the face" (514). To further clarify the disease Hemoptysis (current spelling Websters 1999ed.) as noted:" The spitting of blood derived from the lungs or bronchial tubes as a result of pulmonary or bronchial hemorrhage". "Hemoptysis, particularly if it involves a large quantity of blood or recurrent, is a frightening, potentially fatal event. Despite systematic and intensive search, the cause of hemoptysis is not found in 30 to 40% of cases"(Beers MD, Berkow, MD 1999).

While not being able to understand the affliction that had taken away Poe's loved ones, he used his brilliant imagination to convey how death had left an everlasting impression through his writing of The Masque of Red Death (317-22).

As the summary continues: Prince Prospero, ruler of this