Analysis of Poe's "Masque of the Red Death"

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I chose to present on Poe because I like many of his works and I remembered reading "Masque of the Red Death" in sixth grade and it really scaring me. I wanted to revisit this and look closer at it to really appreciate all the levels of imagry, detail, and allusions. While rereading this short story, I realized I didn't know many of the words (and I still didn't know some: dictionary to the rescue) when I was younger and I lost some of meaning.

So this was going to be a very formal blog, but I found I'm overwhelmed with information and I don't know where to start.

From EBSCOhost, I found a couple of article: "Dead or Alive: The Booby-Trapped Narrator of Poe's "Masque of the Red Death" by David R. Dudley and "Poe's Use Of Macbeth in 'The Masque of The Red Death'" by K. Narayana Chandran.

I'm leaning towards the narrator one because I haven't read Macbeth in a long time. I wish I could find an article on the colors of the rooms, the number seven, or the levels of irony though. (But this is why we do the research before we write anything.)

I also found an interesting website called "The Poe Decoder" where I got some of the ideas below.

Prince Prospero - From Prospero, comes the idea "prosperity" which is not uncommon for a prince especially one that can afford a lavish party when half of his kingdom has already died, but this prince experiences the least prosperous things that could happen: death. He and the rest of his kingdom and friends die.

The seven rooms - The historical importance of the number seven stands out in the piece through the number and difference in the rooms. Seven could be used to remind readers of seven deadly sins, seven wonders of the earth, or the seven stages of life.

This last one seems to hold more weight because the color of each of the rooms are different and these colors also align with stages of life. Many times blue signifies birth and black is death. There is also the movement from east to west, from sunrise to sunset, life to death. The prince starts in the blue room and goes through to the black room chasing the Red Death. The red of the windows in the black room reflect the blood and death of the outside world and foreshadow the death that will take place in that room.

Clock imagery - Traditional idea of the clock representing life. Every time it starts up the dancers stop: perhaps waiting anxiously to see if will chime all the way through and life will continue. The dancers then are described as "dreams" that frozen when the bell chimes. The last time it chimes is with the life of the last standing man of the party.

The clock is also dark ebony like the room it is kept in. In Roberts, he hints that it (as part of the setting) is another character personified. It has lungs. It stands. It beats rhythmically like a heart.

A video here will start my presentation.

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