A castle cut off from the world, in a kingdom struck by a plague
"birth and death"
The story covers a period of approximately six months during the reign of the Red Death. The action takes place in " [the] deep seclusion of one of [Prince Prospero's] castellated abbeys." The "masque" takes place in the imperial suite which consisted of seven, very distinct rooms.
No one escapes death
"like a thief in the night," and even those who seek "peace and safety...shall not escape."
Arranged in a row from east to west, the seven color-coded rooms in the abbey are considered symbolic of the progression of life. The stages they represent are birth (blue), youth (purple), adolescence (green), adulthood (orange), old age (white), imminent death (violet), and death itself (black/scarlet).