Symbolism In "The Masque Of The Red Death" And "The Cask Of Amontillado"

1200 words - 5 pages

Edgar Allan Poe is arguably one of the best writers of all time. Through Poe’s masterful use of symbolism, he is able to deeply develop a story. Poe’s deep symbolic writings make readers read deeper into the story to fully understand the meaning to the story. Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” and “The Cask of Amontillado,” are arguably the best stories he has ever written. “The Masque of the Red Death,” is about a prince named Prospero who witnesses a plague known as the Red Death, consuming the entire city. Prospero invites the elite of his kingdom to join him in his castle and take refuge from the poor people suffering and the disease. To help his guests ignore the disease and suffering ...view middle of the document...

“The third was green throughout, and so were the casements, (What are)” this room represents the growth and nourishment of life. “The fourth was furnished and lighted with orange --the fifth with white --the sixth with violet. (What are)” The orange room represents the procession from youth to old age. The white room represents the accession to heaven. The sixth room with violet furniture represents the end of life. “The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this chamber only, the color of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet --a deep blood color. (What are)” The seventh apartment was very disturbing to the guest and was mostly avoided. This room represents the darkness of the end of life.
Standing in the final room of Prospero’s ball is a large ebony clock with a thunderous chime at every hour. Every hour when the clock sounds everyone seems to freeze. The clock serves as a reminder of death and symbolizes the inevitability of it. Like death, the guest could neither stop the pendulum nor could they prevent its thunderous chime. In life death can come unexpectedly much like the chime of the clock. Much like the swinging of the pendulum, death is constant impending fact of life.
The third use of Poe’s symbolism is Prospero’s castle. In the story Prospero invites the more privileged of his kingdom to join him for a ball inside of his “castellated abbey”(A Guide). While the poor are outside of the castle suffering from the devastating “Red Death” that is devouring everyone in its path, Prospero and his elite are living as if what is happening outside of the castle walls can not harm them. In the end, Prospero and his guest pay the price for their ignorance. The castle proves to symbolize the futility of mans’ efforts to evade death. Death is blind to wealth, social position, or popularity, and can arrive as an uninvited guest in anyone’s life.
The final symbolism used by Poe is Prince Prospero himself. Prospero serves as a symbol of mans’ sense of self-importance. Prospero invites only the elite to his party showing his belief that himself and his guests are superior to the peasants he leaves to die outside of his castle. By hiding...

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