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The Masque Of The Red Death Short Story Essay

Decent Essays
EL101
“Short stories value symbol over plot.” Discuss, with reference to both “The Masque of the Red Death” AND “The Tell-Tale Heart.” By Edgar Allen Poe.

Symbolism is a technique that is greatly valued in many short stories. It is evident in the work of Edgar Allen Poe, in his short stories, “The Masque of the Red Death” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”. Both of these short stories reveal and prove that short stories value symbol over plot. Poe’s effective use of symbolism in his short stories broadened my understanding of the story being told.

In the short story “The Masque of the Red Death”, Poes use of symbolism is central to the story. There are many times throughout the short story where the use of symbolism takes over the telling of the story. The first use of symbolism that struck me the most was the reference to the ‘Seven Rooms’, seven chambers, all different in colour. Each room represented the different stages in our lives. The
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The colour red may symbolize love and passion but in this case, red symbolizes blood, pain and death caused by the plague that has caused instant death to those who contract it.
These three main symbols in “The Masque of the Red Death” contribute to our interest and understanding in the story. In particular, it allows us to believe that short stories really do value symbol over plot.
In “The Tell-Tale Heart”, there are many examples of symbolism that support our beliefs that symbol is valued more than plot in short stories. The symbolic meaning of the old mans eye is the main symbol in the short story, in my opinion. The old mans eye is “a vulture…a pale blue eye, with film over it”. This description is “indicating that there is a lack of visual clarity”. The eye, in a way, could symbolize the lack of clarity and sanity we see from the narrator due to the fact that he is telling his story through a distorted and mad mind, “mad men know nothing”
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