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The main focus of this short story, the Red Death, is allegorical of a pestilence with a similar name, the Black Death. Because the disease spread at such a quick pace, evading it was almost fruitless. Folks chose to try and keep themselves as secluded as possible, but one member of the party with a worsening condition was all it took for more individuals to meet their demise. Alluding that the Read Death was an unprecedented sickness mirrors the Black Death in the most evident way.
The passage of time in correlation to aging is symbolized by the ebony clock. Society tends to perceive age as a negative concept, so every time the clock rings aloud, people are stunned and frightened. Though age may slow us down, we continue to prevail in our daily endeavors, just as the guests did when the ringing subsided. The older we become, time has a more unforgiving feel to it and our reactions appear more desperate and anguished.
Prince Prospero symbolizes the ignorance of humanity. When enclosing many members of society into an abbey, the prince assumes they had seen the last of the Red Death. Perhaps it was his status that gave him a false sense of security, ultimately leading to his death. This is a common theme among the elite, and is even existant today.
Life is represented, or symbolized by the colorful outwardly appearance of the rooms. All the vibrant colors inflict a positive mood into us that we usually associate with liveliness. Eventually, white is a base color for the compartments, which represents old age, and the black room is the last stage of life. As the night wears on, the light casted by the black and red room is on a higher level and is unavoidable.
The mummer is symbolic of the undeniable fate of death. The ignorant man may try to slip through its grasp (Prince Prospero), only finding himself in the same place as others who have attempted the same. Death has an ugly, imposing appearance that horrifies most in its presence. The reality of our final moments can show its face from out of thin air with no warning, just as the phantom emerged in a crowd.
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