The title of this essay is Critical Review of Symbolism in the Short Story "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allen Poe. Includes Endnote and Bibliography.

Essay by alainysucyUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 2003

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"The Masque of the Red Death" is an elaborate allegory that combines objects in the story with visual descriptions to give focus to the reader's imagination. In the story, a Price named Properso tries to evade the red death through isolation and seclusion. He hides behind the impenetrable walls of his castellated abbey and lets the world take care of its own. But no walls can stop death because it is unavoidable and inevitable. Visual descriptions in Edgar Allen Poe's short story "The Masque of the Red Death" are used to symbolize death. Poe's use of language and symbolism is shown in his description of the seventh room in the suite, the fire, and the ebony clock. These objects are used to depict the theme of the story, death "held illimitable dominion over all."1

The first symbolic mean of death is represented in the seventh room in the suite.

The story takes place in seven connected but carefully separated rooms. "The seventh apartment was closely shrauded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue."2 Poe usesthe seventh room to symbolize the final stage of life, death. He sees the black velvet tapestries as blood flowing from the ceiling and walls to the floor. The relationship between blood and death is important because he wants the reader to have a visual image of the blood pouring down the walls as a form of death. In creating this room Poe links the colors red and black with death and time.

The fire lighting the suite of rooms is another object in the story that represented death.

...There stood, opposite to each window, a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier...