Symbols in “the Masque of the Red Death”

“The Masque of the Red Death” is a Gothic style story written by Edgar Allan Poe. In this story, numerous setting and detailed details contain symbols. These symbols are extremely crucial due to the fact that each sign represents something and provides readers much thought. For example, the red color represents the blood and the clock represents the time, etc. Through these symbols, we can find out the story teaches us that no matter you are abundant or poor, you can not avoid death.

There are seven chambers in Prince Prospero’s castellated abbey. Each chamber is painted in various color. The last chamber is described as “was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls … The panes here ware scarlet– a deep blood color.”(Poe,84).

The colors black and red represent the death and blood, which is the symbol of the Red Death. The chamber the guests fear just as they fear death.

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These hint the readers something about the Red Death will happen in the last chamber and leave reader a guess of the outcome. Another symbol in the story is the gigantic clock of ebony. This clock reminds all the guests how time flies because “the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause…” (Poe, 84).

It also represented the countdown to death, “And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay.”, which is the theme of the story, death is inexorable.(Poe,88) This symbol gives meaning to the story by pointing out the theme.

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Symbols play an important role in writing because they make the story more mysterious and more interesting. Readers can find out what the author want to express instead of telling by the author. It’s a necessary way of writing Gothic style story. Symbols represent the theme and mind of the story. They leave people deep thoughts and something to recall.

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Symbols in “the Masque of the Red Death”. (2016, Dec 26). Retrieved from

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