Irony In The Masque Of The Red Death

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“And now acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revelers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each on the despairing posture of his fall” (49). These lines from Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” show the fear that humans have of death and not being in control of their fate. In “Masque of the Red Death”, the theme that death is unavoidable is developed through the use of irony, setting, and symbolism. Irony is shown in “The Masque of the Red Death” by Prince Prospero thinking he could outsmart death. The Red Death is a devastating disease. It causes the infected person to bleed from their pores, and it took them 30 minutes to die. In order to not become infected with the Red Death, Prince Prospero goes into hiding. The Prince “...summoned to his presence a thousand hale light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys” (45). This shows the efforts of Prince Prospero to protect himself and the other rich people from the Red Death. The Prince thinks that he can avoid the disease. The Prince Prospero also thought that “The external world could take care of itself… All these and security were within. Without was the Red Death” (45). This shows how Prince Prospero was certain that he could escape the Red Death and that he would be safe. Although the Prince Prospero thought that he was completely safe from the Red Death; he was wrong. The narrator states, “And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all” (49). In the end everyone the Prince brought into hiding, including himself, dies. This shows that death is unavoidable no matter what is done to try and stop it. Another literary element that Poe incorporates to support the theme that death is unavoidable in “The Masque of the Red Death” is setting. The design of the area in which they are safe from the Red Death is uniquely set up to protect the Prince and his friends. The Prince and his guests “resolved to leave means neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within” (45). This shows how the
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