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Masque of the Red Death

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The Masque of the Red Death
By: Edgar Allan Poe

A terrible disease called the Red Death has struck the country. It's incredibly fatal, horribly gruesome, and it's already killed off half the kingdom. But the ruler of these parts, Prince Prospero, doesn't seem to care about his poor, dying subjects. Instead, he decides to let the kingdom take care of itself while he and a thousand of his favorite knights and ladies shut themselves up in a fabulous castle to have one never-ending party. Wine, women, music, dancing, fools – Prospero's castle has it all. After the last guest enters, no one else can get in – the Prince has welded the doors shut. That means no one can get out, either…

About five or six months into his stay, Prospero decides to have a spectacular masquerade ball (a ball where the guests where masks and costumes). The setup is weird and wild, just like the Prince who designs it. The ball takes place in a suite of seven rooms, each one dressed up in a different color: blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet, and black. The black room, which looks like death, is awfully creepy – it's got dark black walls, blood red windows, and big black clock which chimes so eerily every hour that everybody at the party stops dancing and laughs nervously. Most of the frolicking masqueraders are too weirded out to go into the black room.

Anyway, the party's in full swing and everybody's having a wild time when the clock strikes midnight. Everyone stops dancing and falls momentarily silent, as usual. Then some of the dancers notice a guest no one had seen before, wearing a scandalous costume. Whoever the new guest is, he's decided to dress as a corpse, a corpse who died of…the Red Death. He's so frighteningly lifelike (deathlike?) he freaks everybody out, and he slowly starts "stalking" through the frightened crowd. When Prince Prospero sees the ghostly guest, he's furious that someone would have the nerve to wear such a costume, and orders him to be seized and unmasked. But no one has the guts to do it, including Prospero himself.

The Red Death masquerader passes within a few feet of the Prince and starts to walk through the rooms, heading toward the black room. Prospero loses it and runs after him in a rage, drawing his dagger as he approaches. But just as Prospero reaches the edge of the black room, the corpselike guest suddenly whirls around to face him, and Prospero falls to the ground, dead. The shocked crowd throws itself at the guest, only to discover in horror that there's nothing underneath the mask and costume. The Red Death itself has come to the party. One by one the guests die, spilling their blood all over Prospero's lavish rooms. The candles go out, leaving only "darkness, decay, and the Red Death."

The Masque of the Red Death Plot
By: Edgar Allan Poe * A horrible disease called the Red Death is ravaging the countryside. It's a terrible way to die: shooting pains, seizures, bleeding from all the pores, and then death. And it all happens within half an hour. * Prince Prospero, the ruler of said kingdom currently being ravaged by the Red Death, is "happy" and "dauntless" and decides he doesn't want to bother with the disease. So he takes a thousand of his knights and maidens and shuts himself up with them in a hidden "castellated abbey" (that would be an abbey made over into a castle, with battlements). * The doors of the abbey are welded shut, so no one can get in. But no one can get out, either. * Prince Prospero is quite the party animal, and plans to have a good time while the rest of the world dies. * The abbey (which Prospero designed himself) is filled to the brim with all the makings of an incredible party: lots of food, jesters, dancers, musicians, and wine. * Five or six months after shutting himself up, Prince Prospero decides to have the biggest, weirdest masked ball anyone's ever seen. The narrator can't get over just how cool the setup is, and spends the next two pages raving about it. So, here's the setup: * The ball is set in a suite of seven rooms, which run from east to west. Unlike most suites, they don't form a straight line, but are at odd angles to each other. * Each room is a different color, too (thanks to a serious job on the wall hangings) – even the windows in the rooms are painted. The first room is blue, the second one purple, the third one green, the fourth one orange, the fifth white, the sixth violet. * The seventh room is particularly interesting. It's hung entirely in black velvet, but the windows aren't black: instead, they're a deep blood red color. Mwahahaha…how ghoulish. * As for the lighting? The windows of the rooms open on to a corridor, and the candles are actually put in the corridor, so the light can stream through the windows into the rooms. * This lighting makes the black room so creepy that almost no one dares to go in. * In the black room there's also an enormous black clock. * The clock chimes at every hour with a note so strange that all the masqueraders are put on edge and stop whatever they're doing when they hear it, even the musicians. After the clock finishes, they all laugh nervously and go back to partying. * After describing the duke's designs, the narrator admits that our man Prospero's a little on the odd side. So odd, in fact, that you might think he was insane, though his friends don't think so. But he does know how to throw one heck of a party. * The party is one wild good time – it feels like a fantasy land. The masqueraders look like "dreams" and "fantasms." General revelry for all. * The night wears on, and gradually the revelers get too nervous to even venture a foot into the black and red room. The other rooms are jam-packed with people. * Midnight arrives, and the clock strikes twelve eerie strokes. Everybody stops what they're doing, as usual. * Before the clock's done striking, some of the revelers start to notice a new guest has arrived, a guest who even in Prospero's crazy crowd seems to have gone just a little too far… * The new arrival is dressed like a corpse in a burial shroud, with a terribly convincing mask that looks just like a dead person's face. * If that were all, it wouldn't be such a big deal. But this guy's not just dressed like a corpse; he's dressed like someone who died of the Red Death. You can tell by the blood. * Prince Prospero catches sight of the "spectral image" (ghostly figure), who's walking slowly and deliberately through the crowd. His first reaction is terror, but then he gets mad. * Prospero demands to know who would dare to insult him so, and orders his guards to seize the guy in the Red Death getup, and unmask him – he'll be publicly hanged at sunrise. * No one has the courage to seize the guest. Including Prospero. * The Red Death masquerader passes right by Prince Prospero, who's in the blue room, and slowly makes his way from one room to another, heading towards the black room. Everybody shrinks away as he passes. * Now Prospero's angry enough to get over his nervousness. In rage, he draws a knife and runs after the ghostly figure in the Red Death getup. * Prospero passes from the blue room all the way down to the violet room, until he reaches the ghostly guest at the edge of the black room. * The Red Death masquerader suddenly turns around and faces Prospero, who drops his dagger and falls down. Dead. * Prospero's revelers, enraged enough to get over their fear, run into the black room and mob the masquerader. * As they rip at it, they're horrified to discover that there's nothing underneath the mask and shroud. Uh oh. You know what that means… * Everyone realizes that the Red Death itself has arrived at the party. * Slowly, one by one, each person starts contorting, bleeding, and dying. * The black clock dies too, and the candles go out… * "And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all"
The Masque of the Red Death Characters

Meet the Cast

Prince Prospero
Prince Prospero is a terrible ruler. All he seems to care about is pleasure, which is what it means to be a "hedonist." He doesn't want to spend his time doing anything but drinking, dancing, and laughing, and generally having fun. That makes him an awful ruler, because when the going gets tough, Prospero gets going. It makes him seem selfish too: he just doesn't care about the suffering of his people. He doesn't even want to think about it.
Prospero does not want to face death. He deliberately flees it with his followers and tries not to think about it at all, so he can revel in the good times. But his attempt to escape death is doomed to failure: everybody has to die eventually. Prospero's impossible attempt to ignore death and focus only on life's pleasures makes him a classic "fool" figure. Sadly, he learns his lesson the hard way at the end.

Prince Prospero Timeline and Summary * Prince Prospero is introduced as the ruler of the "dominions" ravaged by the Red Death. * Prospero reacts to the plague by fleeing to his "castellated abbey" with a thousand of his favorite knights and ladies. * About six months into his stay, Prince Prospero decides to throw an elaborate masquerade ball in a suite of seven colored rooms. He designed it himself, and it's so weird you might even think he was crazy. * Prince Prospero's masquerade is a huge hit. Then, at midnight, the Prince, who's hanging out in the blue room, sees a new face in the crowd. Oh the bad taste! Somebody is dressed up as a victim of the Red Death. * Prospero is outraged, and orders the guest to be seized and unmasked. But nobody has the courage to approach him, including Prospero himself. The strange and offensive guest just goes on making his way through the rooms. * Prospero finally gets up the courage. He draws his dagger and runs after the interloper. * Prospero reaches the Red Death masquerader at the edge of the black room. The masquerader whirls around to face him, and… * That's not a masquerader, that's actually the Red Death. Prospero dies.

The Red Death
The Red Death may just be the biggest party pooper of all time. He's Death embodied. It's not really clear just what he is, since there's no "tangible form" (touchable or solid form) underneath his costume. He doesn't seem to have any real motives besides bringing darkness and death wherever he goes. That may be why he's never invited to parties. But he always shows up, kills the host, and turns the whole thing into one deadly disaster.
He's not much of a talker. In fact, he doesn't say anything at all. When he shows up suddenly at midnight to Prospero's masquerade, he just starts slowly, silently "stalking" around, scaring people. He doesn't need to do anything to scare people; his "costume" is scary enough.
The Red Death is not popular with Prospero's friends, who have shut themselves up just to avoid it. They just can't get over their disgust that somebody could show such poor taste. Until the man in the Red Death costume kills Prospero, and gets mobbed and unmasked. Then it turns out he's not a guy in a costume, after all – he's the real Red Death.

The Red Death Timeline and Summary * The Red Death shows up at the masquerade ball at midnight, sharp. * We have no idea where he's come from, or how he got in. We don't even know that he's the Red Death yet. So far as we know he's just some guy dressed up in a Red Death corpse costume. Everybody else thinks this appearance is inappropriate. * The Red Death stalks around. Prince Prospero demands that he be seized and unmasked, but no one has the guts to follow the order. * The Red Death is unfazed and walks right by Prospero, making his way through the suite towards the black room. When he reaches the violet room, Prospero dashes off after him in pursuit, dagger drawn. * At the edge of the black room, the Red Death whirls around to confront Prospero, who promptly falls on the floor and dies. * A whole horde of other guests jumps the Red Death, but find when they rip of his mask and costume that there's nothing underneath. The guy in the Red Death costume is actually…the Red Death. * Everybody dies, the lights go out, and the Red Death holds dominion over all.

The Masque of the Red Death Plot
By: Edgar Allan Poe

Setting
The story is set in Prince Prospero's luxurious castle where they hid themselves there because the kingdom is struck by a plague. Everyone inside is having one big party.The story's main action takes place in an elaborate suite of seven colored rooms within the abbey, where Prospero holds the masquerade ball late at night. Where the Red death appears at midnight killed Prospero and his followers.
Initial Situation
It's the Red Death! To the castellated abbey, quick!
First, we meet the Red Death, the horrible, hideous, loathsome disease that's ravaging the countryside. Then we meet Prince Prospero, whose countryside and peasant folk it is that are being ravaged. Prince Prospero has retreated to his castellated abbey and shut himself in with his friends.
Conflict
Prospero throws a masquerade ball.
It's a ball, and what a ball it is! Prospero's decision to throw a masquerade ball is what kicks off the action of the story, and tension builds as we learn the details of the party. Every weird little thing we learn about – the strange layout of the suite, the ghastly look of the black room, the giant clock that ominously tolls the hour and makes everyone laugh nervously.
Complication
Begads, he's besprinkled with the scarlet horror!
A creepy new guest mysteriously shows up in a Red Death costume and starts stalking around. At midnight, no less. At this point, you can cut the tension with a knife. Everybody's scared, but it's uncertain as to what will happen. Prospero orders the guest arrested but nobody dares to take a step, including Prospero himself. The guest makes his way ominously to the black room…
Climax
Prince Prospero faces death…and dies.
Prospero's charge after the "spectral figure" brings the story to its highest moment of tension: the moment of epic confrontation, when the Red Death turns around to face Prospero. It doesn't last long, since Prospero falls down and dies immediately.
Suspense
Won't the real Red Death please stand up? Please stand up? Please stand up?
The suspense in this story literally lasts a sentence. Just long enough for the outraged revelers to discover that the guy in the Red Death costume who just killed their Prince is actually the Red Death. And he's still angry he wasn't invited to the party. We wonder how this situation will be resolved.
Denouement
Why do these halls suddenly look so blood-bedewed?
Everybody dies. And gets their blood all over Prospero's beautiful fabrics. The revelers die, the clock dies, the candles die, and the party's over. And so is the story.
Conclusion
"And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all"
The Masque of the Red Death Plot
By: Edgar Allan Poe

Setting
The story is set in Prince Prospero's luxurious castle where they hid themselves there because the kingdom is struck by a plague. Everyone inside is having one big party. The story's main action takes place in an elaborate suite of seven colored rooms within the abbey, where Prospero holds the masquerade ball late at night. Where the Red death appears at midnight killed Prospero and his followers.
Anticipation Stage
The Red Death ravages the countryside; Prospero flees to his castle getaway
We meet our "hero," Prospero, who somehow thinks that he can escape from the Red Death that's destroying his kingdom. He leads a retreat to his castellated abbey and locks himself and his 1,000 favorite knights and ladies inside. They're there to part. No dying is going to happen there any time soon.
Dream Stage
Prospero spends several months in his castle, and then puts on a masquerade ball.
Prospero's flight from the Red Death appears to be successful, and after several months he decides to throw one heck of a party. It's one big celebration of life and all its pleasures. And he ball is so strange that it does actually resemble a dream.
Frustration Stage
A guest appears at midnight, dressed as the Red Death
The appearance of the guest in the Red Death costume signals the start of trouble. Somebody has dared to remind all of Prospero's revelers of the horror from which they cannot escape. There is general disgust, fear, and outrage. This is the first suggestion that Prospero and his friends weren't able to escape the Red Death after all.
Nightmare Stage
Prospero orders the Red Death seized; no one moves
When Prospero orders the guest in the Red Death costume to be seized, no one does a thing – not even Prospero himself. He's lost control of the situation. The guest walks untroubled towards the black room.
Destruction or Death Wish Stage
Prospero charges after the Red Death, and dies, followed by everybody else
Prospero runs after what turns out to be the Red Death itself, and dies. His guests die too, after finding out for themselves, just what it is that has come to their masquerade. They were not able to escape the Red Death after all. How foolish they were to think they could.…...

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...The Masque of Red Death People don't really have that much in common, but they do have one big thing in common, that is death. Death is the one thing that no one can stop. The short story "The Masque of Red Death," by Edger Allen Poe shows how that statement is true. Poe was a man who had had many experiences with a disease that killed many people in his life, in his story "The Masque of Red Death," he uses a lot of symbolic messages to express his views and feelings on that disease. Edger Allan Poe stated out with a home life that wasn't very stable. His blood father left when Poe was about one. His mother was an actress that moved Poe's sister, brother , and himself around a lot. Then when he was three she died of tuberculoses. After his mothers death Poe was separated from his sister and brother. Poe was sent to the Allen family. Then when Poe was in his early twenties Mrs. Allen also died of tuberculoses. At the age of twenty-six Poe married his cousin Virginia. She later died of tuberculoses. His brother died of tuberculoses also. In "The Masque of Red Death," Poe uses color as a symbol. He used the colors red, blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet, and black. In the story red stand for the death that comes over everyone in the story. In Poe's life it stands for the diseases that has killed......

Words: 564 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Masque of the Red Death

...The Masque Of Red Death Death is unavoidable. We will all die one day. Nothing can prevent that from happening. Many people are afraid of death because they don’t know what’s coming after death. Many people don't really believe in afterlife because they feel as if there's no God. In the short story,”The Masque of The Red Death,” Edgar Allen Poe uses symbolism to exude his message, that no one can prevent the inevitability of death. Poe uses the character Prince Prospero to symbolize the conceited belief of the rich. Poe states,” And the whole seizure, progress, and termination of the disease were the incidents of half an hour. But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated…” What Poe means is while millions and millions of people died while the Prince was inside closed doors not caring about the civilian’s being killed by a disease outside.To put it another way, The Prince stayed inside like he was unkillable and he felt like nothing would happen to him and that the people outside were poor and not rich like him, He was showing no fear while other people died. A sharp line is drawn between a world of life and a world of death. Poe states,” All these and security were within. Without was the “Red Death”. What he means is the death was outside, and even though the people inside are supposedly protected by being inside they’re really trapped inside with death all around them. To put it......

Words: 461 - Pages: 2

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The Masque of the Red Death

...little Lamb and .WARRA WARRA WARRA WARRA WARRA .ate her all up. But before she died she gasped out .’Any excuse will serve a tyrant.’ I chose "THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH" by Edgar Allen Poe as my short story. The theme that I selected from that story is Mortality. Thesis Statement on Mortality: Even though fear of the unknown is scary, should mortality actually be something we fear? Death effects everyone the same. It ends life for all equally and death is life’s only certainty. Some of the literary elements Edgar Allen Poe uses in this story include symbolism, imagery, and allegory. Examples of these include the Seven Colored Rooms; each symbolically corresponding to a different "stage" of human life, which its color suggests. The Black Clock located in the black room, symbolizing the passing of "the Time that flies", and the inevitability of death. and the Red Death itself, coming "like a thief in the night”, referring to the Bible’s reference in Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians 5:4, in which Jesus will come when the world is least expecting it ("like a thief in the night") to judge sinners for all of eternity. The characters in the story all try to ignore and escape death, escape their own mortality, preferring to stay focused on living life to its fullest. But, as they (as well as us) are reminded when Death literally crashes their party, our mortality cannot be avoided At first glance, Prince Prospero comes across as a pretty arrogant dude. He......

Words: 2065 - Pages: 9

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Symbolism and in Edgar Allan Poe's the Masque of the Red Death

...Michael Reyes Symbolism and in Edgar Allan Poe's the Masque of the Red Death Thesis: Poe uses symbolism to unfold this gripping tale of terror. “The Masque of the Red Death” is an allegory. It features a set of recognizable symbols whose meanings combine to convey a message. An allegory always operates on two levels of meaning: the literal elements of the plot (the colors of the rooms, for example) and their symbolic counterparts, which often involve large philosophical concepts (such as life and death). This can be read as an allegory about life and death and the powerlessness of humans to evade the grip of death. The Red Death thus represents both literally and allegorically how in the end no one man can overcome death. We will look at three symbols in detail; being Prince Prospero and his wealth, the second is the Ebony Clock that which chimes and finally we will look at the final room or the black room these symbols are written in such vivid detail this story albeit short feels tangible and palpable, at times truly coming to life. This is a true tale of horror that was carefully orchestrated and one not easily forgotten. Lavish parties, extravagant material items, no matter how beautiful the castle, how luxurious the clothing, or how rich the food, no mortal, not even a prince, can escape death. In another sense, though, the story also means to punish Prospero’s arrogant belief that he can use his wealth to fend off the natural, tragic progress of life. Prospero’s......

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