Week 11 Reading

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    In “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe, I found it very interesting how Poe creates a narrative of happiness inside the abbey and a horrifying reality outside the abbey. The juxtaposition emphasizes the joyful mood inside, as people are dancing and playing music in the secure abbey. The stark contrast of the outside being contaminated with a plague, “Red Death”, creates an ominous foreboding tone as the narrative continues. Also, Poe describes the ornate decorations within the abbey. Each apartment of the abbey has beautiful and lively colors on the walls and window panes, suggesting a peaceful and untroubled life inside the walls. However, Poe juxtaposes the six jovial apartments with the dark seventh apartment. This room had no light and black velvet tapestries on the wall, creating an ominous and foreboding mood. Furthermore, the window panes were “blood-tinted” which foreshadows the demise of the prince and allows the reader to make predictions about the deathly ending of the short poem. Poe continues to describe a large clock that rings loudly every hour on the hour. Every time this occurs, the musicians, dancers, and cheerful nobles cease movement and listen to the sounds of the clock. The mood become eerie and everyone becomes nervous about what will happen next. The clock is a symbol of everyone’s unpredictable yet inevitable death. Despite the sense of security and happiness that resides within the abbey, a masked man is soon noticed and many people question his appearance. The masked man represents the “Red Death” and he eventually kills the prince in the dark seventh apartment. The prince dies in the room with no lights, dark tapestry, and “blood-tinted” window panes. This death represents the uncertainty of death, as everyone felt safe and cheerful in the abbey, yet the prince was killed in an instant. I love how Poe concluded the poem, stating that “And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion overall”. This reiterates the theme of this poem that death is always unpredictable yet inevitable.

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