“The Masque of the Red Death” is nothing more than one other of Poe’s reasonably numerous explorations of the general theme of death. Then there may be little which may be stated about its meaning apart from that; it’s a reasonably good example of grim and ironic humor. However, for the symbolic overtones of the work, different potentialities as to its meaning present themselves. The author believes that the story turns more thrilling and broader when one concentrates on these allegorical components.
Examining the textual content of the work, we discover that Prospero is a feelingless ruling prince. There can be implicit within the text a strong suspicion that this man might be insane, for we’re informed that “Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious” although the Red Death had killed half the individuals in his kingdom. This would hardly be the response of a ruler who’s in contact with his surroundings.
Assuming that death, even the one which Prospero is attempting to escape, is the wage of sin, there could be a bit symbolic objection to having Prospero seek refuge in an abbey—a monastery.
While on this stage of isolation, because it had been, he entertains his carefully chosen visitors at a masked ball within the seven rooms of his imperial suite. The approach that Poe treats these seven rooms could also be gathered to view them because of the allegorical illustration of Prince Prospero’s life span.
The imperial suite consists of seven rooms allegorically represent Prospero’s life span. It is logical to imagine that the seven rooms allegorically characterize the seven decades of his life, which in keeping with the Bible, is the average life span of man—threescore and ten.
By emphasizing, we consider that Prospero’s apartments differ from similar apartments owned by different individuals. This signifies that Prospero’s life differed from that of most individuals—that it’s more crooked and winding, more tortured, stress-ridden than the lives of others that are straighter and maybe calmer.
Each of the seven rooms, except for the last one, has two Gothic windows and two doors. It doesn’t seem that the seventh room—the room of death—would need two doors.
As for the Gothic windows, each of them has a fireplace brazier behind it within the closed corridor. Poe has a lot to say concerning the colors found within the seven rooms that it’s troublesome, if certainly not unattainable, to assume that he meant nothing by them. It has been steered that the seven rooms most likely characterize the seven decades of Prospero’s life. Proceeding on this assumption, it’s logical to conclude that the color in any given room could also be associated with Prospero’s physical and psychological situation in that decade of his life.”
The symbolism relating to Poe’s use of the direction east here is rather obvious. The blue color could also be associated with the very beginnings and origins that “East” stands for by considering it because it’s the residence of the unknown or the surprising—i.e., the beginning of life also unknown.
The second room, says Poe, was purple—a color worn by those that have achieved something in the world or society. Again, by extension of meaning, one might consider this color as representing that period in Prospero’s life when he has completed a little something in life— may be moving into maturity.
The third room is colored green, full of life and vigor—certainly with a person who’s in the prime of his years.
The fourth room is orange and fairly quickly suggests, at least to the reader, specializing in color symbolism and life’s autumn. Prospero might effectively be thought-about here to be beyond his prime, however by no means old yet.
The fifth room is white, and if we observe the identical practice of thought, it will suggest the silver or hoary-haired period of old age.
The sixth room is violet, a color that’s symbolic of gravity and innocence. It seems that it will not be too much to imagine that this room then represents the gravity and the soberness of old age and the roughly enforced purity that goes together with it.
Poe tells us that the seventh room is black, most frequently related to death; he also tells us that this room is probably the most westerly of all, and the affiliation of conclusions ends death itself with “West” are too numerous to mention.
Most of the dancing and pleasure within the apartment came about in the first six rooms, for as Poe says, “in them beat feverishly the heart of life.”
Also, it’s to notice that within the seventh room was to be found the giant black clock, which appeared certain to be more than a clock and to do more than a clock does. It would seem from the way he writes that Poe meant for the clock to count off periods of life—not mere hours. Perhaps, for that reason, he capitalizes the word “Time” at this level within the story and thus personifies it. They think not by way of an hour has passed, however, instead of their lives as having passed.
Concerning the character of Prospero, Poe signifies that the rooms had been crammed with dreams such as those a man with a tortured thoughts might have. He says that within the rooms, “there was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust.” Poe clothes it in the “habiliments of the grave” and causes it to put on a mask that resembles the face of a corpse.
Prospero is furious at the intrusion and asks, “Who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery?” He additionally commands his visitors to “seize him [the figure] and unmask him—that we may know whom we have to hang at sunrise from the battlements!”
Prospero rushes towards the figure of death, intending to stab him to death—irony of ironies! In doing so, he runs by each room within the apartment—by each period of life—solely to be stricken useless within the seventh room when he catches up along with his intended victim. Allegorically this might very effectively imply that one becomes aware of death at a very early age.
In any event, with Prospero’s death comes the death of all within the apartment, and this story ends with the typicality of Poe—death is inevitable.
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