An Idea Of The Imminence Of Death In The Masque Of The Red Death By Edgar Allan Poe

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

Death is something that everyone agonizes every day. Edgar Allan Poe emphasizes how death is inevitable in his short story, The Masque of the Red Death. The main character, Prince Prospero, a misleading, deceitful ruler pretends to help his country as his people are dying from the disease, the “Red Death” when he is just trying to protect himself and leave his people to fend for themselves. Ultimately, Poe uses symbolism and personification to embody a disease to emphasize that no matter the person’s social class death is unavoidable.

Looking in from the outside, Prince Prospero is someone who loves to have fun. All he seems to care about is being bliss, and drinking a lot of alcohol. He doesn’t do much aside from that and that’s what makes him a weak ruler because when he encounters tough situations, Prospero seems to ignore them. He doesn’t even want to spend time thinking about solutions to those situations because that would be too much of a drag. That’s evident when he shares his philosophy about issues and says, “The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime, it was folly to grieve, or to think… There were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. ” Prospero purposely turns to alcohol when times are tough, just so he can enjoy a good time. But his attempts at trying to escape death fails, eventually, everyone has to die. Prospero’s foolish attempts to escape death not only portray him as a weak person but as a ruler as well. Unfortunately, he learns his lesson at the end of the story.

Death is imminent. In “The Masque of the Red Death”, casualties start to escalate rapidly and that’s represented by the big ebony clock. Every time the pendulum swung back and forth, and the clock chimed the party-goers felt afraid and uneasy, even though they knew they were safe in the palace, “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. ” Its creepy chiming on the hour was a daily reminder to the people that their time was coming to an end, and that death was right around the corner. Of course, after the chiming stops, everyone continued what they were doing, symbolizing how not everyone’s time to die is the same.

Death is an abstract idea, by personifying it as a disease in the form of a masked figure. Poe is making it easier for readers to comprehend that death has no boundaries or rules, it conquers anyone and anything. In his last moments, Prince Prospero comes face to face with “The Read Death”, and it ends with the disease, “confronting his pursuer and the dragger dropping gleaming upon the sable carpet. ” Which then led to the death of Prospero. The ending signifies how idiotic Prospero and his friends were to think they could escape death. Death is unavoidable; their plan to escape death was bound to fail from the beginning. Poe leaving Prospero to die last also exemplifies that no matter how much wealth and riches you have in the world, the one thing you won’t have is an escape from death.

Overall, Edgar Allan Poe’s literary example and use of personification and symbolism show how everyone dies at the end, so there’s no point in trying to escape it. All in all, death is a reality we all endure, although we all die in different ways, in the end, we all become a tombstone in the earth. After the famous Prince Prospero dies, we see how the story ends shortly after. By killing Prospero, Poe is sending a clear message to the rich and the poor that no matter what your social status is in the world, death does not segregate it treats everyone the same.


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