The Masquerade of the Red Death - Cole
By coletrain4, Updated
A storyboard charting the symbolic and allegorical nature of "The Masquerade of the Red Death." - Storyboard for Mr. Carpenter
At the beginning of the story, the author extensively describes the castle in which Prince Prospero resides. This fortress is symbolic of safety and security. For example, the author notes, "The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure." Conversely, the territory surrounding the stronghold is explicitly symbolic of death, suffering, and horror. This is affirmed by the author, "All these and security were within. Without was the "Red Death."
When describing the seven rooms in which the masquerade was held, the author mentions one particularly dark room. The 7th room, filled with ghastly reminders of horror, death, and agony, is quite possibly symbolic of fear and evil. The objects represented by the author include, "Black velvet tapestries... The panes here were scarlet--a deep blood color." This image represents a dark feeling of death and loss.
While continuing the description of the 7th room, the author mentions a menacing clock. Apart from detailed description of the appearance, the author makes a symbolic reference. The clock could stand for a variety of things, specifically of unpleasant reminders. Each hour the clock chimes, the people attending the masquerade became nervous and disconcerted. The author notes, "the giddiest grew pale."
The motif of death which the author utilizes is not constant. For example, though the clock serves as a reminder for death on occasion, life goes on. The author notes this by saying, "It was a gay and magnificent revel" when the masquerade party is going on. The author shows that the individuals are having a good time despite the hourly chiming of the clock. This is symbolic of how, as individuals, we are sometimes reminded of death, but put it off and focus on the merry things in our lives.
As an entire work, "The Masquerade of the Red Death" is allegorical in nature. Primarily, it represents death in general, but there are a few specifics I would like to address as well. Firstly, it represents how we choose to ignore warnings or reminders of death and proceed with our daily lives (however mundane they may be). Secondly, it represents how when death comes, we try to avoid it. For example, when the Red Death comes, the Prince chases with a dagger. The author notes, "Prince Prospero, maddening with rage and the shame of his own momentary cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six chambers." On a literal level, people try to fight off or chase away death by utilizing methods they think could potentially prolong their life, such as medicine or the assistance of doctors.
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