English 1, Period 3
October 3, 2017
Literary Analysis of the Masque Red Death
In “The Masque of the Red Death,” Poe uses the clock, the final chamber, and the Red Death to express that death is unavoidable. The clock, an imposing figure in the western chamber, symbolizes the inevitability of death. Each hour, the clock sounds the hour with its powerful “and so peculiar note” (Poe) that both dancers and orchestra pause, it’s bell prompting them to ponder life and death. In addition to the location of the clock and its influence on the dancers, the sound of the magnificent clock is the final sound they hear before their imminent demise. Once the everyone has met their fate of death, “the life of the ebony clock [goes] out” (Poe), signifying the connection of the clock to their doom.
The final chamber is another figure illustrating the the imminence of death. It is “shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls” (Poe) onto a floor that of the same color. The room had curtains the color of blood, and its light was issued from that of a pedestal containing an instrument which spread the light of the sun around the room. That instrument also “produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered” (Poe) that few dared enter the chamber....