The Masque of the Red Realism/Romantic Death

| | Comments (0)


Um, apparently I somehow failed to write about this a month or so ago when I was meant to. However, I was fortunate enough to bring it up in class tonight, during the romantic/realist/modernist/post-modernist discussion. In light of this, I had some new ideas about the overall meaning of the story.

Taken in the most literal sense, its pretty obvious that death WILL get you. There is some pretty obvious reference to a certain other plague that was refered to as some color followed by the word "death" as well. Partially because of Poe's poem about science, I get the feeling that he is somewhat conflicted between realism and romanticism. For this reason, the Masque of the Red Death can be seen as two seperate conflicts between the two, with opposite victors.

The first conflict sets up Prince Prospero's party-castle as a symbol of romanticism. His attention is placed on making the place fun, and asthetically pleasing. He springs for the sort of oppulent decor that requires a great amount of text to describe. Despite this, reality in the form of the Red Death, crashes the party. Thus, the emotional and idealized is crushed by the cold hand of the Red Reality.

The second, opposing conflict paints the isolationist strategy of Prospero as the rational and scientific, as most know that quarantine   is effective against infectious diseases. In this case, the Red Death symbolizes the romantic and natural, giving the impression that no amount of reason and science can prevent fate, nature, God or any other "romantic" forces from getting to you.

I feel that both interpretations are equally valid, as their cancelling out gives the impression that both schools of thought are important in someways, and wrong in others.     

Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.