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

Art matches reality: Prospero’s abbey symbolizes art"s capability to permit individuals to develop a universe distinct from reality. However, the development of rooms and also the unmasking the the Red Death suggests that also art does not allow individuals come escape time and death.

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Class conflict: the indifference of Prospero and his guests to the plight that the rest of the populace highlights course conflict, but the come of the Red Death argues that wealth cannot protect civilization from death.


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The layout of Poe’s allegory quite plainly focuses ~ above the impossibility, regardless of one’s power, wealth, and influence, the escaping mortality. However, the story is somewhat more facility than this easy ethical statement would certainly suggest. First, the particular nature that the Red death itself create a basic irony. The metaphor of a “Red” death, since it says blood, is the traditional image, not of death, yet rather of life itself, for the visibility of blood ~ above the face of a person argues the life in ~ it. In this sense, every living person wears a mask that red—the blood visible beneath the skin. However, the is specifically this sign of life the ironically argues death. Because that Poe’s suggest is that it is the an extremely presence the life the inevitably means death. Thus, Prospero does no simply try to escape death; rather, by enclosing self within the castle and also shutting out the external world, that attempts come escape life into a kingdom hermetically closed off—in short, into a world very much choose Poe’s id of the art occupational itself.

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In this sense, Prospero is a reflection of wilhelm Shakespeare’s personality of the exact same name in The Tempest (1611), likewise an aesthetic magician that creates an alternative world of imaginative reality not vulnerable to the contingencies of outside reality. Indeed, Poe’s focus in “The Masque the the Red Death” is that the abbey within which Prospero retreats is his own “creation,” a result of his “own eccentric yet august taste”—phrases that echo Poe’s very own aesthetic theory—a Platonic id that celebrate the appropriate of the artwork together a self-sustained endure of absolute and immutable beauty. In effect, Prospero create the photo of a self-contained artwork within which he tries come live. However, the seven rooms within the abbey seem to reflect the inescapable temporality of person experience.

The succession of rooms perhaps represents the seven ages of man—from the blue, which argues the beginning of life and also light in the east, come the black, which suggests the darkness the night and also death in the west. Consequently, also though Prospero make the efforts to create the illusion the art as eternally safeguarded from the contingencies the life, the final realization of the leader is that, because all art functions inevitably reflect life, one cannot escape, also within the artwork, the unpreventable implication of process and for this reason mortality. The picture of the clock in the final room suggests why this is so: Both life and also the literary work exist in ~ time, and it is undoubtedly time that provides life finish inevitably in death.


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Death while this story is literally about a pestilence dubbed the Red Death, it have the right to be review at one allegorical level as a tale about man"s fear of his very own mortality. In the story, Prince Prospero and also his ‘‘thousand friends’’ seal themselves into an abbey the his castle in an attempt to ‘‘defy contagion’’ and escape the clutches of the Red Death. The Prince employs "all the appliances the pleasure"" in bespeak to odor his guests both from the suffering and death outside their walls and from think of their very own vulnerability come the Red Death. The Prince"s actions signify the methods in i beg your pardon all humans tend to emphasis on material pleasures in stimulate to distract themselves native the understanding that everyone, including themselves, at some point must die.

The truth that the Red death slips in "like a theif in the night"" to insurance claim the lives of everyone present symbolizes the truth that no one, not even the powerful and wealthy, deserve to escape death, i m sorry eventually claims all mortals. Simply as everyone must eventually "face"" the fact of their own mortality, the Prince dies the moment he precise "faces" his own Death, and also can no longer deny its presence in his castle.

Time The theme of time in this story is carefully linked come the layout of death. Of course, the i of time signal the strategy of death; as the speak goes, every minute that passes brings united state one minute closer to our death. Poe at one allude capitalizes words Time, as if it were a proper name, thereby personifying it, which suggests that the is referring to time in a broader allegorical sense, quite than merely in a literal sense.

The connection of time with fatality is indicated by the placement of the "great ebony clock"" in the saturday room that the abbey, i m sorry is the room associated with images of death. The passage of time marked by the chiming of the clock every hour symbolizes the limited time every person needs to live. The guest at the ball are so disturbed by the sound that the clock"s chime because it is a reminder come each person of their own encroaching deaths. Through the happen of each hour, the guests at the sphere are compelled to think about their own mortality, regardless of all the distractions provided by their intricate festivities, because that "more of believed crept, with more of time, into the meditations the the thoughtful amongst those who reveled.’’

The hour the midnight, noting the finish of the day, thus symbolizes the finish of life. Indeed, the Red fatality is very first noticed amongst the guest at the ball shortly after the hit of midnight, signaling the arrival of fatality for each party goer. The death of the guests and breakdown of the clock are similarly simultaneous, for "the clock go out through the critical of the gay.’’

Madness "The Masque the the Red Death"" have the right to be understood as the interior monologue the a madman, and also all its personalities figments of his insane imagination. Together G. R. Thompson maintains, Poe to be "the grasp of the internal monologue that a profoundly disturbed mind.’’ If this story represents the ‘‘interior monologue" the a mad Prince Prospero, the narrator should be Prince Prospero himself. The narrator an initial mentions the opportunity that the Prince might be insane through attributing it to the opinion the others, stating that ‘‘there room some who would have actually thought that mad.’’ yet the narrator distances himself indigenous this opinion by then stating the ‘‘his followers felt that he to be not"" mad.

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If the entire story to represent the figment that one man"s mad imagination, climate the guests room not genuine people, yet merely characters in his own internal psycho-drama. Indeed, the guests at the masquerade round are defined as "a multitude that dreams"" and also even together "fantasms." In this feeling the ‘‘masqueraders’’ in ~ the ball are merely extensions of the narrator himself, just as the personalities in desires are extensions of the dreamer. That is the Prince himself that dresses his guests, because that ‘‘it to be his very own guiding taste i beg your pardon had offered character come the masqueraders.’’ and the certain costumes are defined as "delirious fancies such together a madman fashions.’’ In other words, the mad Prince design the costumes the his guests in accordance through his own "delirious fancies,"" or delusions. If the guests of the Prince space reflections that his very own mad imagination, it likewise makes sense that also they are eventually referred to together "mad," in the expression ‘‘mad revelers.’’ and even the masked number of the Red death is described as taking on ‘‘mad assumptions.’’

Apocalypse The use of language in ‘‘The Masque the the Red Death,"" and also the nature of the tale, brings to psychic a biblical story through apocalyptic implications. The story evokes images familiar from the Bible; the "pestilence"" that has ravaged an unnamed nation described in the opened paragraph recalls pictures of God having actually sent a pestilence upon the land as a kind of punishment to humans for your sins. Prince Prospero and also his ‘‘thousand guests’’ it seems to be ~ like most likely candidates for divine wrath, as they exhibition no sympathy because that the experiencing of their other countrymen, instead indulging in ‘‘all the appliances that pleasure.’’

As critic Patrick Cheney has pointed out in his write-up ‘‘Poe"s usage of The Tempest and also the bible in "The Masque that the Red Death,"’’ the final paragraph that the story take it on a biblical tone, as "the language, rhythm and allusion are unmistakably Biblical.’’ most notably, the closeup of the door sentence evokes apocalyptic images of finish devastation: "And Darkness and also Decay and also the Red death held illimitable preeminence over all.’’ Cheney, however, suggests that, uneven the Bible, where God constantly ultimately triumphs, in Poe"s story the is the forces of evil, ‘‘Darkness and also Decay and the Red Death,’’ which suggest an unholy trinity winning the end over light and goodness and also life.