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In the midst of a fantastic masquerade the guests begin to notice a masked figure who was not there before. At first there were murmurs and whispers of his presence that evolved into astonishment and disbelief and ultimately led to shock and repulsion at his intrusion. Not all masks are those that are worn. Although the guests take part in a masquerade and a phantom appears who is disguised, there lies another mask within the story that furthers awareness that death is inevitable.

The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

The architecture is a creation of the prince and it is said that he had a hand in even the minute details that were contained within those walls; this may be the reason why he withdrew from the outside horrors into this safe haven. Eventually death catches up to Prince Prospero and his mask betrays him and is revealed not to be a sanctuary of safety, but a clock ticking down the time until his inevitable demise.

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Although his kingdom is in disarray and almost half of the population has been killed, the prince maintains a demeanor that is quite puzzling. He is happy and content to not only seclude himself but to treat both him and his guests to whatever pleasures they desire. All delight at the festivities and lose themselves in revelry because they knew that it was foolish to think about the plague or those that had perished because of it.

The Masque of the Red Death

All these and security were within. When the clock struck, it seemed to lift the veil for just an instant, causing the group to pause and remember why they were in seclusion for only a moment. Each room has tapestries to match its color and a stained glass window that when illuminated would yield a strange effect; all except the black room. When the black room was illuminated, it produced a scarlet hue that of the color of blood and many of the guests refused to enter it. Many theories revolve around the specific meaning of the rooms and their respective colors, it is widely accepted that they represent various stages in a life cycle.


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Theses rooms travel East to West and are not in alignment, with a sharp turn every 20 to 30 yards. With this information we can begin to visualize the details of the structure that Prospero created. Consider half of the face of a clock from six to midnight the time at which the phantom is revealed and you can observe that there are seven sections represented by each hour on the clock. Then we consider the relationship of the masked figure and Prospero. These two characters become the hour masked man and second Prospero hands of the clock, and when they finally meet one another, Prospero becomes victim to the thing he so wished to escape from.

The literal mask of the figure so closely represents the sickness that those who see him cannot differentiate between a person who is in costume and one who is afflicted and this is precisely what causes the spread of so much fear within the group. Although the story does contain a literal clock, the time period that is the most meaningful is the point at which Prospero contracts the disease pm , his realization that he is afflicted midnight , and his passing shortly after midnight which is represented by the architecture.

Widdleton , pp. It was reprinted several times.

In the story “William Wilson,” the character known as The Other is

Poe , edited by J. Ingram, vol.

I, no. IX, no.

Why We Will Always Love "The Masque of the Red Death"

XXXV, no. Stedman and G. Harrison, New York: T. Quinn New York: Library of America , pp. Comparative and Study Texts:. Associated Material and Special Versions:. The jacket features simple black and white graphics. The narrator, who has a surprisingly high voice and a detectable Brooklyn accent, is noted as being 21 at the time of the recording. A curious adaptation is that the narrator is made to be Prince Prospero himself.

'The Masque of the Red Death,' by Edgar Allan Poe

This was part of a series of 4 albums. The show was produced by Winnie Waldron and Winifred Phillips.


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  • Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered to and fro or depended [. It was in the collection of Richard Oinonen, who died in , and is probably the work of Joseph Cosey.