Plot summary[ edit ] Illustration of Prince Prospero confronting the "Red Death" by Arthur RackhamThe story takes place at the castellated abbey of the "happy and dauntless and sagacious" Prince Prospero. Prospero and 1, other nobles have taken refuge in this walled abbey to escape the Red Death, a terrible plague with gruesome symptoms that has swept over the land. Victims are overcome by "sharp pains", "sudden dizziness", and " profuse bleeding at the pores ", and die within half an hour.
Does leaving your peasants to die of the plague while you go and lock yourself up safely in a pleasure palace count as being a good prince in your book? And possibly one huge allusion to Shakespeare. Prince Prospero the Fool On the surface, Prospero looks like shallow guy.
All he seems to care about is pleasure, which is what it means to be a "hedonist. That makes him an awful ruler, because when the going gets tough, Prospero gets going.
It makes him seem selfish too: His basic philosophy is summed-up here: The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The Prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine.
He deliberately flees it with his followers and tries not to think about it at all, so he can revel in the good times. But his attempt to escape death is doomed to failure: Sadly, he learns his lesson the hard way at the end.
His refusal to let anything get him down can also seem like a sign of the strength of his spirit. Maybe Prospero thinks creating one last outpost of "life" is the best way to fight death.
But his motivations might not be so bad as it seems. We also get hints that he may be more than a little odd. The two seem to go together, as in this passage: The tastes of the duke were peculiar. He had a fine eye for colors and effects. He disregarded the decora of mere fashion.
His plans were bold and fiery, and his conceptions glowed with barbaric lustre. There are some who would have thought him mad. His followers felt that he was not.
It was necessary to hear and see and touch him to be sure that he was not. The strangeness, even the "grotesqueness," of his artistic visions is what makes them so inventive and compelling. We see that spectacular imagination at work in his castellated abbey, the product of his "own eccentric yet august taste" 2.
In fact, we get the sense that everything at the masquerade ball is designed by Prospero, down to the costumes the people are wearing: At one point, he even uses it to create a magical revel, essentially a ball replete with goddesses.
And he ends it when he realizes he has to attend to a plot against his life with a famous monologue about dreams: Our revels now are ended.
These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air: We are such stuff As dreams are made on; and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. The sorcerer image suggests something else.
Prospero tries to create a perfect artificial world of art born of his own imagination. The seven rooms are that idealized world. They symbolize the whole of human life, re-envisioned by Prospero. That may be way Prospero is so outraged when the Red Death shows up.
And that death conquers Prospero, in the very spot where he had hoped to conquer it the black room. Poe himself is something of a Prospero figure.
Might Poe be trying to tell us something about himself through Prospero too? Poe, on the other hand, creates the Red Death through his own imagination. But who does that remind you of?THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH by Edgar Allan Poe () THE "Red Death" had long devastated the country.
No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous.
For example, Prospero, whose name suggests financial prosperity, exploits his own wealth to stave off the infiltration of the Red Death. His retreat to the protection of an aristocratic palace may also allegorize a type of economic system that Poe suggests is doomed to failure.
Start studying "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. American author Edgar Allan Poe was part of the American Romantic movement and wrote many Gothic poems and short stories, including the short story, 'The Masque of the Red Death,' which was published in , seven years before he died.
This short story is a strong example of the Gothic genre, since it explores the theme of the inevitability of . Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe In the short story “Masque of the Red Death” By: Edgar Allen Poe he delivers the theme of age old inevitability of death and futility of trying to escape death, the setting of his story is based during a time when the bubonic “black” plague took over Europe.
Free summary and analysis of the events in Edgar Allan Poe's The Masque of the Red Death that won't make you snore. We promise. The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe. Home / Literature / The Masque of the Red and it's already killed off half the kingdom.
But the ruler of these parts, Prince Prospero, doesn't seem to care about.