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Symbolism Of Life And Death In “The Masque Of The

1064 words - 4 pages

Symbolism of Life and Death in "The Masque of the Red Death" One characteristic of a romantic piece of literature is the use of symbolism the authors use in their works. In Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Masque of the Red Death," symbolism is used and seen many times. Some things in the story, when taken at face value, seem peculiar and confusing, such as the different colored rooms in the hallway, the purpose of the giant ebony clock, and the reasoning behind the guests' way of hiding their faces behind their masques. However, if assessed properly, the true meanings of these seemingly insignificant details are revealed and in reality have a heavy influence on the true meaning of the story.The seven rooms in this story are one of the details that have a profound symbolic influence on the true meaning of Poe's story. The colors of the seven rooms, and the order in which the rooms are arranged in the story, have a specific meaning, which adds to the actual interpretation of the story. Each room consists of a different color: blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet, and black. When the implied meanings of each of these colors are revealed, the true reason for the rooms develops. Blue often reminds people of beginning of life and the purity that comes with that beginning. Next is purple, which is related to learning, youth, and the beginning of age. Following purple is green which we relate to growth, youthfulness, and energy. This is the point of a person's life when they reach their peak. Orange often reminds people of sunsets, falling leaves, and the beginning of the downfall to winter or the end of the year. Then there is white, which represents faith and the beginning of older age. Violet, which is seen as a darker shade of purple, is next with its reflection of knowledge, old age, and the coming of darkness. Lastly there is black which, as seen by everyone, brings thoughts of death, darkness, grief, and nighttime. If the meanings of these rooms are looked at in order, it becomes obvious that the rooms have been placed in order from brightest to darkest, or from the beginning to the end. They show a distinct pattern that matches the pattern of a human life. There are also seven distinct stages in a person's life, which are directly related to the seven rooms used by Poe. Seven is known as the number of completeness and is the symbol of the completeness of a life. It is seen numerous times throughout history in such things as the Seven Wonders of the World, the seven deadly sins, and even in the seven days of the week. The feeling of completeness created by the number seven, when related back to the rooms, produces a symbol of the passing of a complete life.Another form of symbolism is evident in the giant ebony clock that sits in the seventh and final room. The clock is seen as a symbol of the coming, and the constant reminder of death. Every time the clang of the...

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