"Masque of Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe.

Essay by sweetld215University, Bachelor'sA+, September 2003

download word file, 2 pages 3.5 1 reviews

Downloaded 79 times

Edgar Allan Poe: The Masque of Red Death

In The Masque of Red Death the Prince and his guests are attempting to escape the red death, which has plagued the country. Poe's reoccurring motive throughout most of his short stories, including this one, is death. He intertwines the fear of death, the attempt to escape death, and even an attempt to outsmart death. The clock in this short story plays an important role, which I hope to develop in the paper. It's hourly chimes strikes extreme fear in the partygoers and causes everything to stand still while it chimes. The clock is also connected to the "masked figure" because he goes unnoticed every time the clock chimes until midnight. Midnight is the longest chime and the "masked figure" is finally noticed by those at the soiree. The clock represents that the end is drawing closer and closer as each hour passes.

Edward Davidson states that, The Masque of Red Death's "...aim is to reduce man from his assumed humanity to his bestial counterpart and...to reveal that disgusting underside of man's existence." (152). Davidson appears to be referring to the Prince's pride, and anger at having an intruder crash his party. Prince Prospero's pride and temper get the best of him. He allows himself to explode and chase after the masked figure, desiring to capture and kill him. The Prince's reckless acts ultimately cause his death. He is reduced to his most primitive form and because of this looses his life.

Another critic, Joseph Wood Krutch, states, "The Masque of the Red Death is merely the most perfect description of that fantastic décor which he had again and again imagined" (77). Krutch compares the fantastic designs of the rooms to the elaborate description of the mansion in The Fall...