The Masque that the Red fatality Themes The main themes in "The Masque the the Red Death" space art, reality, and also class conflict.

Art matches reality: Prospero’s abbey symbolizes art"s capacity to allow individuals to develop a universe unique from reality. However, the progression of rooms and also the unmasking of the Red Death suggests that also art walk not allow individuals to escape time and also death.

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Class conflict: the indifference of Prospero and also his guests to the plight that the rest of the population highlights class conflict, however the arrival of the Red Death suggests that wealth cannot protect human being from death.


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The theme of Poe’s allegory quite clearly focuses top top the impossibility, regardless of one’s power, wealth, and also influence, the escaping mortality. However, the story is rather more complex than this easy moral statement would certainly suggest. First, the certain nature of the Red death itself create a simple irony. The an allegory of a “Red” death, since it argues blood, is the conventional image, not of death, but rather of life itself, for the presence of blood on the challenge of a person argues the life in ~ it. In this sense, every living person wears a mask of red—the blood visible beneath the skin. However, it is precisely this sign of life that ironically says death. For Poe’s point is the it is the really presence that life the inevitably means death. Thus, Prospero does not simply shot to escape death; rather, by enclosing himself within the castle and also shutting out the external world, that attempts come escape life into a realm hermetically closed off—in short, into a world really much like Poe’s id of the art job-related itself.

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In this sense, Prospero is a have fun of wilhelm Shakespeare’s character of the very same name in The Tempest (1611), an in similar way an aesthetic magician that creates an alternative world the imaginative truth not vulnerable to the contingencies of exterior reality. Indeed, Poe’s emphasis in “The Masque that the Red Death” is that the abbey within which Prospero retreats is his own “creation,” a an outcome of his “own eccentric yet august taste”—phrases that echo Poe’s very own aesthetic theory—a Platonic concept that celebrates the ideal of the artwork together a self-sustained suffer of absolute and immutable beauty. In effect, Prospero create the picture of a self-contained artwork in ~ which that tries to live. However, the 7 rooms in ~ the abbey seem to reflect the inescapable temporality of human being experience.

The succession of rooms possibly represents the seven periods of man—from the blue, which argues the start of life and also light in the east, come the black, which suggests the darkness that night and also death in the west. Consequently, also though Prospero attempts to create the illusion that art together eternally defended from the contingencies of life, the last realization the the reader is that, due to the fact that all art works inevitably reflect life, one cannot escape, also within the artwork, the unpreventable implication of process and thus mortality. The image of the clock in the final room suggests why this is so: Both life and also the literary job-related exist in ~ time, and it is certainly time that provides life end inevitably in death.


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Death when this story is literally about a pestilence dubbed the Red Death, it have the right to be review at one allegorical level together a tale about man"s are afraid of his very own mortality. In the story, Prince Prospero and his ‘‘thousand friends’’ seal themselves into an abbey of his lock in an attempt to ‘‘defy contagion’’ and also escape the clutches of the Red Death. The Prince employs "all the appliances that pleasure"" in order to distract his guests both indigenous the suffering and death outside their walls and from think of their own vulnerability come the Red Death. The Prince"s actions signify the methods in i m sorry all humans tend to emphasis on material pleasures in bespeak to odor themselves native the expertise that everyone, consisting of themselves, ultimately must die.

The fact that the Red fatality slips in "like a theif in the night"" to insurance claim the stays of everyone current symbolizes the fact that no one, not even the an effective and wealthy, have the right to escape death, which eventually cases all mortals. Just as anyone must ultimately "face"" the fact of their very own mortality, the Prince die the minute he precise "faces" his very own Death, and can no longer deny its visibility in his castle.

Time The template of time in this story is closely linked to the template of death. The course, the passage of time signals the method of death; as the speak goes, every minute the passes brings us one minute closer come our death. Poe in ~ one suggest capitalizes words Time, together if it to be a ideal name, in order to personifying it, which suggests that the is introduce to time in a broader allegorical sense, rather than merely in a literal sense.

The connection of time with death is shown by the location of the "great ebony clock"" in the saturday room that the abbey, i beg your pardon is the room linked with pictures of death. The passage of time significant by the chiming of the clock each hour symbolizes the restricted time each person has to live. The guest at the ball space so disturbed by the sound that the clock"s chime due to the fact that it is a reminder to each human of their own encroaching deaths. With the happen of each hour, the guest at the sphere are forced to think around their very own mortality, in spite of all the distractions detailed by their sophisticated festivities, for "more of assumed crept, with an ext of time, into the meditations the the thoughtful among those that reveled.’’

The hour of midnight, noting the end of the day, hence symbolizes the finish of life. Indeed, the Red death is first noticed among the guest at the ball quickly after the punch of midnight, signaling the come of death for each party goer. The death of the guests and malfunction of the clock are likewise simultaneous, for "the clock walk out through the last of the gay.’’

Madness "The Masque that the Red Death"" have the right to be taken as the inner monologue that a madman, and all its personalities figments that his insane imagination. As G. R. Thompson maintains, Poe was "the grasp of the internal monologue the a profoundly disturbed mind.’’ If this story represents the ‘‘interior monologue" of a foolish Prince Prospero, the narrator must be Prince Prospero himself. The narrator very first mentions the opportunity that the Prince might be insane through attributing it come the opinion of others, stating the ‘‘there are some who would have thought him mad.’’ but the narrator distances himself native this opinion by climate stating the ‘‘his followers felt the he to be not"" mad.

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If the whole story to represent the figment the one man"s foolish imagination, climate the guests room not actual people, but merely characters in his own internal psycho-drama. Indeed, the guests at the masquerade sphere are explained as "a multitude the dreams"" and even together "fantasms." In this feeling the ‘‘masqueraders’’ at the ball room merely extensions of the narrator himself, simply as the characters in desires are extensions of the dreamer. That is the Prince himself who dresses his guests, for ‘‘it was his very own guiding taste i m sorry had provided character to the masqueraders.’’ and also the specific costumes are described as "delirious fancies such as a madman fashions.’’ In various other words, the foolish Prince designed the costumes of his guest in accordance v his own "delirious fancies,"" or delusions. If the guests of the Prince are reflections the his very own mad imagination, it additionally makes sense that even they are ultimately referred to as "mad," in the phrase ‘‘mad revelers.’’ and also even the masked number of the Red fatality is explained as acquisition on ‘‘mad assumptions.’’

Apocalypse The use of language in ‘‘The Masque that the Red Death,"" as well as the nature of the tale, bring to mind a biblical story v apocalyptic implications. The story evokes images acquainted from the Bible; the "pestilence"" the has devastated an unnamed country described in the opened paragraph recalls pictures of God having sent a pestilence top top the land together a type of punishment to people for their sins. Prince Prospero and also his ‘‘thousand guests’’ seem like likely candidates for divine wrath, as they exhibit no sympathy because that the suffering of their fellow countrymen, instead indulging in ‘‘all the appliances that pleasure.’’

As doubter Patrick Cheney has pointed out in his post ‘‘Poe"s use of The Tempest and also the bible in "The Masque that the Red Death,"’’ the last paragraph that the story take on a biblical tone, together "the language, rhythm and also allusion space unmistakably Biblical.’’ many notably, the close up door sentence evokes apocalyptic images of finish devastation: "And Darkness and also Decay and also the Red fatality held illimitable ascendancy over all.’’ Cheney, however, suggests that, unequal the Bible, wherein God constantly ultimately triumphs, in Poe"s story the is the forces of evil, ‘‘Darkness and also Decay and also the Red Death,’’ which imply an unholy trinity winning out over light and goodness and also life.