Six and Seven in 'Masque of the Red Death'

820 WordsNov 29, 20054 Pages
Edgar Allan Poe was a writer who believed every single word contained meaning and in his own words expressed this idea in brevity only he is capable, "…there should be no word written, of which tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design." (Poe 244). To this effect, Poe drenches his works in symbolism and allegory. Especially in shorter works, Poe assigns meaning to the smallest object, explicitly deriving exurbanite significance within concise descriptions. "The Masque of the Red Death" tells the story of a Prince Prospero who along with his one thousand friends sought a haven from the plague that was ravishing their country. They lived together in the prince 's luxurious abbey with all the amenities and…show more content…
And the seventh, and most westerly apartment, is black with red accents and represents the end of life, the setting of the sun, and death. Poe did not intend a specific meaning for the number seven, just for the reader to be aware of the passing of time and the idea that the prince was trying to recreate a perfect world complete with "…all the appliances of pleasure…Without was the Red Death." (238). The Prince 's recreation of the world is ironic because it is modeled after the one the Prince and his followers are trying to escape. The seven perfect rooms foreshadow the evitable downfall of perfection. The number seven appears six times in the text which may lead to some significance behind that number as well. Six could represent human morality, the devil, spiritual imperfection. The masquerade takes place in the sixth month of isolation in the abbey; the sixth apartment is where the Prince finally confronts Red Death and eventually dies, falling in to the seventh apartment. The sixth apartment is also colored violet, which has meaning of royalty and power. It may be irony that the prince succumbs to the "Red Death" in the violet room and may have more to do with the fact that it is the sixth room they meet. It is the number six that represents the defiance of god and marks several anti-Christ like figures in
Open Document