Moby Dick and The Masque of the Red Death: True American Romanticism

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Moby Dick and “The Masque of the Red Death”: True American Romanticism
In society today, people tend to go with their feelings instead of reasoning or recalling situations to have happened to them before for insight. The reasoning behind this is due American Romanticism, created in 1800 and lasting through 1860. In this period literature, music, and art was created on how the writers and artists felt instead of logic and reasoning. American Romanticism is clearly shown in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death”. Both Moby Dick and “The Masque of the Red Death” show the struggle of everyday life with vivid use of the five senses, the all-being truth of the cycle of nature, and the wonder, awe, and
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Using sensory imagery to exploit the five senses is also shown in “The Masque of the Red Death”. When describing the vile disease, graphic imagery is used to invoke many negative emotions. Poe writes:

“No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal --the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour“(1).

Without going into much gross detail, this quote uses the sense of sight to show the ill effects of the red death, like “...profuse bleeding at the pores...”(1) that will kill everyone in Prince Prospero’s utopia. Both use the sense of sight to invoke emotions, with Moby Dick the view of sailors looking out to sea showing their longing for it, or with “The Masque of the Red Death”, the disgusting symptoms of the disease showing how god awful it really being that Poe compared the Red Death to tuberculosis. Romantic writers used vivid details to invoke the five senses to create emotion, both positive and negative, and both works are not short of great

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