In “Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe he uses many different forms of symbolism to describe life and death.

He describes the seven apartments, clock and the masked figure. All of these things most certainly symbolize life and death in some way. The “Red Death” comes and an enormous amount of people start to die. The Prince decides to take a thousand of his “closest “friends and close them off to the world, to escape death. But little does he know that no matter what you do or where you go, you can never escape death, for Death will always find you!He starts of describing the seven apartments and how bizarre they look “There were seven…while the folding doors…” (234). the fact that there were seven rooms is symbolic in itself due to that there are seven stages in life. Poe uses the number of rooms to describe the stages of life in a way that the first room symbolizes birth and the seventh room symbolizes death. In every room there are decorated stained glass windows along with the carpet that coordinate with the color of the room.

The first room, blue symbolizing birth, purple is the developmental stage of life, green for the nourishment. The orange room represents the setting of the sun, the ending of life, leading to the white room for the ascension into heaven. The seventh and final room being black velvet represents death.

It is in the seventh room that draws a feeling of fear among the prince’s guests and is avoided. The room is entirely decorated in black except for the window panes which were that of a scarlet. There stood…a brazier of fire… (235). There is a fire that prominently illuminates the room where an ebony clock stands striking at every hour.

The next huge piece of symbolism is the ebony clock. The clock in the “Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe symbolizes the final judgment, when everyone’s life comes to an end, the clock stops. From the way he describes it “a gigantic clock…there came from the lungs… (235) the clock symbolizes the ticking of life.The chiming on the hour is a regular reminder to the Princes guests that their lives are fading away with the time, and that death is approaching. The effect is intensified even more by that way the clock has such an effect on the people that they stop dancing “the giddiest grew pale…when the echoes… (235). the clocks made everyone uneasy and laugh nervously.

The masked figure was very symbolic also. “there were many individuals in the crowd who had found leisure to become aware of the presence of a masked figure which had arrested the attention of o single individual before”(236). Many would say that the masked guest who looks like death represents death itself. For example, the guests are afraid of the masked figure and they are also afraid of dying. In closing “Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe uses many different forms of symbolism to describe life and death. If there is a lesson to learn from this short story is that you cannot escape death but you also shouldn’t be afraid of it either. Embrace life and accept death.


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