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Themes and Symbols in Poe's The Masque (Mask) of the Red Death (Essay Sample)


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Themes and Symbols in Poe's The Masque (Mask) of the Red Death

Edgar Allan Poe's literature can be viewed as having a simple yet extremely complicated story. One good example is the “The Masque of the Red Death” which can be viewed either as a simple horror story with no deep meaning behind it or it can be dissected into different symbol with several meanings.
Basically, this story is about how Red Death was a disease which plagued Prince Prospero's kingdom and how this prince did his best to avoid it by simply running away from the disease. He had invited only the wealthy nobles to party with him in his abey. Later on though, he had died of the very disease he had done his best to avoid.
To understand Poe's story better, we would like to discuss the Masque of Red Death Symbolism, the themes, what Red Death is and the story behind it.
Masque of Red Death Symbolism
There are many symbols which can be defined in Edgar Allan Poe's “Masque of Red Death” and these include the following which were defined on different literature levels, namely the literal level (events which actually took place in his story) and the allegorical level (in which characters, events, and objects become a grand symbol):
* Red Death
The Red Death symbolizes death and throughout the years, there had been researchers dedicated to finding out what disease Poe described; however, there was no specific which came up to have the exact same symptoms as described in his work. A lot of critics and scholars alike believed that tuberculosis was the described disease due to its relevance for killing many of those who were close to the poet and the Black Death which murdered much of Europe's population.
* Prince Prospero
The Prince's notion to invite only the wealthy (including the ladies and knights) in his abode had been an evident symbol between the rich and the poor or the socioeconomic divide between those who had the capacity to own lands and the peasants as feudalism had existed previously.
* The Castle
The castle had represented man's effort to prolong longevity and prevent his ultimate fear, death. Be it wealth, popularity or social rank, the Grim Reaper shows no m

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