“The Masque of the Red Death” By Edgar Allen Poe is a story with so many meanings. Not only is this short story written by an amazing writer. Poe uses many literary elements such as very descriptive settings, and a very eerie tone. His setting is an age when the “Red Death” is taking over the country. There is a Prince Prospero, who invites all of his friends to come and live lavishly in his castle-like abbey, and him and his friends live lavishly for several months, avoiding the “Red Death”. The imagery Poe uses to describe the disease is incredible. Here is a description of the symptoms, as Poe show them, “There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, ant then profuse bleeding at the pores with dissolution, the scarlet stains upon the body and especially the face of the victim were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow men. And the whole seizure, progress, and termination of the disease were incidents of half an hour.” Imagery this vivid makes one feel as if they are watching someone o through the experience. This all helps the tone of the story as being a very eerie and horrific tone. All of these things are used to support eh allegorical meaning as well as the theme of Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death”.
The number seven is used in this story as a reference to the seven deadly sins. This use of the number seven is displayed in the seven rooms that Prince Prospero has in his “castle” each room was a different color, one was black and red, another room was purple, violet, green, blue, orange, and white. The rooms all of the guests went into except for the seventh, the black and red room. These colors represent two things, the times of day and with them their corresponding stages of life. The first room, the blue room, represents the freshness of a new day or birth. The second room; the purple room represents being a baby. The green room represents midday, when the sun is shining and the grass is green and when you are growing in life. The fourth room, orange represents the sun being up just hanging out. The fifth room, the white room represents midday when the sun is highest and blinding and your life is midway through. The sixth room, violet represents violet, as the sun starts to set, and the last room, the black and red room represents death as life ends. In each room there is also a torch when everyone dies at the end of the story all of the torches go out, showing how they all symbolized life, and then death. As well as in the black room there was an ebony clock described, as, “in this apartment, also there stood against the western wall a gigantic clock of ebony Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when minute hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of such a peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause momentarily in their performance to hearken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company.” This clock symbolized the death to come to all of the peoples at the party. This was shown in the end of the story when said, “And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired.”
Some of the above things that show the allegorical meanings of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” are just a few key things in the story out of many more things that have multiple meanings. Poe wrote an amazing story with so much meaning packed into only a few pages. His imagery and settings make one feel as if they are inside this little short story with so many meanings.