Poe, “The Masque of the Red Death”

To begin, I think it would be remiss to not mention the clock since it is mentioned so many times. Poe says “while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused revery or meditation”. The clock brings an eerie sense to the people at the ball, and since these people are of nobility because a Prince is holding it, the clock shows that despite their social status, evil and death is always lurking over them. No matter what class you are, Poe is saying that evil and death will always find you. Also, distracting themselves from the Red Death by throwing parties only shows the nobility’s weakness of being afraid of facing reality. 

I found it interesting that the Prince puts all these people in his castle to hide from the Red Death; yet, at the end, he is the one to approach the mysterious figure and confronts him with a dagger. I think this symbolizes the Prince’s oblivious mind set because yes, the Red Death does enter the castle, but the Prince confronts it, so there must be a reason for it. Does it merely symbolize his unawareness of his surroundings and that he is gullible or does it mean something else? Any thoughts?

Also, the Prince’s name, Prospero, is supposed to be taken sarcastically because he is not prosperous in the end; he ultimately dies.

via Poe, “The Masque of the Red Death”.

One thought on “Poe, “The Masque of the Red Death””

  1. I thought maybe the Prince confronts the Red Death because he is humiliated that no one would seize him, including himself when the Red Death walked past him. That moment showed his fear. His anger and embarrassment spurred him forward with a dagger to confront death.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.