When a pestilence known as the "Red Death" breaks out killing someone every half hour, Prince Prospero and his friends hide away in his castle, shutting out the rest of the world.
Prince Prospero throws a masquerade to get his mind off of the Red Death, however every hour when the clock charms, he is reminded of the tragedy going on outside of the castle.
The clock strike twelve midnight and a masked man appears who could not be previously seen. This man is dressed in all black and is wearing a horrific mask resembling a victim of the Red Death.
Literary Element: Symbolism
Prince Prospero is furious that the man ruined the happy mood of the party and charges him with a dagger ready to kill.
Prince Prospero chased after the masked man until he ended up in the final room that nobody else had dared to enter. A sharp cry could be heard and Prince Prospero dropped to the floor dead.
The masked man resembled death itself. Prince Prospero tried to hide from death, but it is made apparent that no matter how hard you try, death is inescapable. The clock resembled the inevitability of death. When the clock strikes midnight it is the end of the day, or in Prince Prospero's case, the end of his life. The masks resembled fear. The people at the party were wearing masks to hide their true feelings towards the Red Death.