Essay on Symbolism in The Masque of the Red Death

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Edgar Allen Poe, in the short story “The Masque of the Red Death”, shows how people may try to outsmart death and surpass it, but in the end they will die since death is inevitable. He reveals this in the book by showing all the people closed up in the abbey that belongs to Prince Prospero. They are trying to escape the “Red Death” and think that they can escape the death by hiding away in the abbey. They manage to stay safe for six months but in the end they all die after the stroke of midnight during the masquerade ball Prince Prospero puts on from the Red Death itself which appears after midnight and leaves no survivors in the end. Poe develops the theme of how no one can escape death through the use of the point of view, the setting,…show more content…
He also took the precautions to not allow anything through the windows not even light so he uses “the fires [to] create the illusion of daylight” to come through each of the colored glass window panes (Dudley). The colored rooms are also a big part of the setting as well as being a form of symbolism also. He goes into great detail of all seven of the colored rooms. The rooms started in the east with the blue room and concluded in the west with the black room. All of the rooms had matching wall and windows except the one that is farthest west which is the black room with the blood red window that houses the clock that could be heard through the entire abbey. The colors of the rooms are symbolic in many ways. They can be taken as a biblical symbol that Hubert Zapf shows in his article which states, “… of human life which leads from the color blue to the color black, from light to darkness, from creation to destruction.”, which can then be used to compare to the way the path goes when Prospero is trying to catch the masked figure and his destruction of Prospero takes place in the black room with the red window (Zapf). The rooms also can
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