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The Masque Of The Red Death: (Edgar Allen Poe Classics Collection)

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The "Red Death" had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal-the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban whi The "Red Death" had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal-the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.


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The "Red Death" had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal-the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban whi The "Red Death" had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal-the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.

30 review for The Masque Of The Red Death: (Edgar Allen Poe Classics Collection)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    I’ve always sensed a strong connection to Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death, perhaps because I've both played and listen to loads of medieval music, perhaps because I enjoy the art and history and philosophy of that period, or, perhaps because I’ve always been drawn to literature dealing with issues of life and death. Whatever the reason, I love this tale. Here are my reflections on several themes: THE REALITY The tale’s Red Death sounds like the Black Death of 1349 where a family member could be I’ve always sensed a strong connection to Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death, perhaps because I've both played and listen to loads of medieval music, perhaps because I enjoy the art and history and philosophy of that period, or, perhaps because I’ve always been drawn to literature dealing with issues of life and death. Whatever the reason, I love this tale. Here are my reflections on several themes: THE REALITY The tale’s Red Death sounds like the Black Death of 1349 where a family member could be perfectly healthy in the morning, start feeling sick at noon, spit blood and be in excruciating pain in the evening and be dead by midnight. It was that quick. Living at the time of the Black Death, one Italian chronicler wrote, “They died by the hundreds, both day and night, and all were thrown in ... ditches and covered with earth. And as soon as those ditches were filled, more were dug. And I, Agnolo di Tura ... buried my five children with my own hands ... And so many died that all believed it was the end of the world.” THE DENIAL Let the Red Death take those on the outside. Prince Prospero took steps to make sure his castle would be a sanctuary, a secure refuge where, once bolted inside, amid a carefully constructed world of festival, a thousand choice friends could revel in merriment with jugglers, musicians, dancers and an unlimited supply of wine. And then, “It was toward the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence. It was a voluptuous scene, that masquerade.” Classic Edgar Allan Poe foreshadowing. THE NUMBER SEVEN The prince constructed seven rooms for his revelers. And there is all that medieval symbolism for the number seven, such as seven gifts of the holy spirit, Seven Seals from the Book of Revelation, seven liberal arts, the seven virtues and, of course, the seven deadly sins (gluttony, lechery, avarice, luxury, wrath, envy, and sloth), which sounds like a catalogue of activities within the castle walls. THE SEVENTH ROOM - THE BLACK CHAMBER Keeping in mind the medieval symbolism for the color black with associations of darkness, evil, the devil, power and secrecy, we read, “But in the western or black chamber the effect of the fire light that streamed upon the dark hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all.” We are told the prince’s plans were bold and fiery and barbaric, but, as we read the tale, we see how even a powerful prince can be outflanked by the fiery and chaotic side of life itself. THE CLOCK This seventh chamber has a huge ebony clanging clock. A reminder for both eye and ear that the prince can supply his revelers and himself with an unlimited supply of wine but there is one thing he doesn’t have the power to provide – an unlimited amount of time. THE UNEXPECTED MASKER When the clock clangs twelve times, a tall, gaunt, blood-spotted, corpse-like reveler appears in the black chamber. Poe, master storyteller that he is, pens one of my all-time favorite lines: “Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made.” Not a lot of merriment once the revelers start dropping like blood-covered, despairing flies. THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TALE We read how there are some who think the prince mad. After all, what is a Poe tale without the possibility of madness? Additionally, when the revelers attempt to seize the intruder with his grey garments and corpse-like mask, they come away with nothing. If these revelers were minutes from an agonizing plague-induced death, how sharp are their senses, really? To what extent is their experience the play of the mind?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Muhtasin Fuad

    No.......just no........it's not for me...... No.......just no........it's not for me......

  3. 5 out of 5

    MischaS_

    And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all. I enjoy Edgar Allan Poe so much; however, I still did not manage to get through all of his short stories, but I'll be definitely working on correcting that oversight. This one was short, straight to the point. It won't go between my favourite Poe's short stories but yet, it was rather chilling. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meanti And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all. I enjoy Edgar Allan Poe so much; however, I still did not manage to get through all of his short stories, but I'll be definitely working on correcting that oversight. This one was short, straight to the point. It won't go between my favourite Poe's short stories but yet, it was rather chilling. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Fascinating and lurid allegory about a group of people who, on the invitation of "Prince Prospero," lock themselves within a "castellated abbey" to escape the Red Death. The inhabitants of the abbey are provided "all the appliances of pleasure," and boy do they know how to party: "there were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine." It all culminates in a huge masked ball held in several colorful and gaudy chambers: "T Fascinating and lurid allegory about a group of people who, on the invitation of "Prince Prospero," lock themselves within a "castellated abbey" to escape the Red Death. The inhabitants of the abbey are provided "all the appliances of pleasure," and boy do they know how to party: "there were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine." It all culminates in a huge masked ball held in several colorful and gaudy chambers: "There was much glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm.... There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust." Then who shows up, of course, but a figure dressed as a Red Death victim: "His vesture was dabbled in blood--and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror." Prince Prospero becomes seriously pissed-off at this figure because he's spoiling all the fun, everyone is scared and freaked out, but when he confronts him he sees that there's literally nothing behind the mask, and he drops dead, and soon everyone else does too. So what is Poe saying here? (I find myself searching for the answer to this question because of the allegorical nature of the work itself.) For one thing, that you can't cheat death, but I think there's something more profound going on, a sort of sociological take on how people ignore the suffering of others at their peril. That we can't really wall ourselves off and party in the face of others' suffering because that suffering will inevitably reach us too. We can't ignore others' pain or pretend it doesn't exist or look the other way.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe are playing a round of golf in the Great Hereafter and discussing Poe’s short work The Masque of the Red Death. Vonnegut: Damn! Hooked it. Lovecraft: You’ve been pulling it left all day, you raised your head on the swing. Bradbury: I saw you move your front foot. Poe: You need to keep your arm straighter. Vonnegut: OK! Damn it. Ed, what in the hell made you write the Red Death story? Bradbury: Masque of the Red Death, one of my favorites, t Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe are playing a round of golf in the Great Hereafter and discussing Poe’s short work The Masque of the Red Death. Vonnegut: Damn! Hooked it. Lovecraft: You’ve been pulling it left all day, you raised your head on the swing. Bradbury: I saw you move your front foot. Poe: You need to keep your arm straighter. Vonnegut: OK! Damn it. Ed, what in the hell made you write the Red Death story? Bradbury: Masque of the Red Death, one of my favorites, this influenced me in so many ways. Lovecraft: Me too, the idea of a surreptitious plague being intentionally shared with the well to do was too good. Poe: I think I was struck by the historic discrepancy between the haves and the have nots in material wealth and position and yet death makes no such distinctions. Bradbury: You smacked the hell out of the ball HP, was that your 3 wood? Lovecraft: 4 wood, I know! I’m getting at least par, if I don’t choke on the green. Ed, were you making a class distinction? Poe: Nice shot HP, well yes and no. Certainly the setting of the masquerade party while the rest of the city was suffering and dying was a statement about class differences and especially with the insensitivity of the aristocracy but more than that, I wanted to convey a sense of poetic justice. Vonnegut: Damn it! I can’t buy a straight shot today! Bradbury: You raised your head again. Lovecraft: You jerked your backswing. Poe: It might help if you would put out the cigarette. Vonnegut: Thanks [lighting another] and you made a very early observation about airborne pathogens, this was published in the 1840s right? Poe: 1842, right, but honestly the infection was more of a symbolic rather than a medical set up. Wow! Nice chip HP. Bradbury: Yeah, wow, you’re shooting for a birdie, right? Lovecraft: Yeah! So Ed, what about the masquerade party? Was this just a framing device to allow the Red Death carrier to visit the party? Poe: Well, yes, but also I think I was trying to create a metaphor for the masks that we wear in society, figuratively speaking that would allow these partyers to ignore the misery of their neighbors. And remember, you twentieth century guys are far more removed from true detached aristocracy, back in the day, if you weren’t part of the in crowd, your life or death mattered very little. Whoa! Great putt HP! Lovecraft: Thanks Ed. Kurt, looks like you’re buying the beer. Vincent Price [from another hole] FOUR!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    I don't know how I overlooked "The Masque of the Red Death" when I was going through my Poe phase a while back, but someone's review reminded me of it (Thanks, random Goodreads friend!). So I found a copy of it online here and gave it another read to refresh my memory. This story is both less and more than I recalled. It's long on setting and mood and short on plot. The plot could probably be described in about two sentences. Let's give it a try:A deadly plague is ravaging the land, and the unf I don't know how I overlooked "The Masque of the Red Death" when I was going through my Poe phase a while back, but someone's review reminded me of it (Thanks, random Goodreads friend!). So I found a copy of it online here and gave it another read to refresh my memory. This story is both less and more than I recalled. It's long on setting and mood and short on plot. The plot could probably be described in about two sentences. Let's give it a try:A deadly plague is ravaging the land, and the unfeeling Prince shuts himself up in his castle with about a thousand of his partying friends.(view spoiler)[But Death, personified, crashes the party and everybody dies. The end. (hide spoiler)] But the setting - whew! If you like creepy Gothic and grotesque Baroque, you really need to give this a read. The seven rooms, with their different color schemes and the disturbing black and red room at the end, the strange ebony clock, the bizarre masqueraders... Random thoughts gleaned from surfing the web: ☠ The Red Death plague is not an actual disease, though Poe may have been thinking of the Black Death, or tuberculosis, or cholera, or some amalgamation of these or other actual diseases. ☠ "Masque" could be short for the partiers' masquerade ball, or an alternative spelling of "mask," recalling the mask worn by the Red Death. In the story's initial publication the title was actually spelled "The Mask of the Red Death." But "masque" is also defined as a "short allegorical dramatic entertainment." That's a fascinating description of what the Red Death is doing at the end of the story! ☠ There's an interesting Minecraft image of what the seven rooms may have looked like: ☠ There are also some interesting theories about the seven rooms representing the seven stages of life, with birth (blue) at the beginning and death (red and black) at the end: Though personally I feel like most of the colors and their order are a bit random for this theory. However, I think the mystical symbolism of the number seven does play into Poe's use of it in this story. Poe stated that he disliked didactic or preachy stories. But in spite of this dislike, I believe he created an allegorical story here with a strong moral message. Art credits: - Still from 1964 film The Masque of the Red Death, starring Vincent Price. - The Minecraft art is from a YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPyOk... - I found the seven stages of life pic on http://mohamadshahine.blogspot.com/20..., but I'm not sure who the original artist is.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ruby Granger

    This is one of my favourite short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. That final spectral image is haunting, and it also raises the ever-important question of the wealth divide.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Masque of the Red Death = The Mask of the Red Death: A Fantasy, Edgar Allan Poe The Masque of the Red Death is a short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1842. The story follows Prince Prospero's attempts to avoid a dangerous plague, known as the Red Death, by hiding in his abbey. He, along with many other wealthy nobles, hosts a masquerade ball in seven rooms of the abbey, each decorated with a different color. In the midst of their revelry, a mysterious figure disg The Masque of the Red Death = The Mask of the Red Death: A Fantasy, Edgar Allan Poe The Masque of the Red Death is a short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1842. The story follows Prince Prospero's attempts to avoid a dangerous plague, known as the Red Death, by hiding in his abbey. He, along with many other wealthy nobles, hosts a masquerade ball in seven rooms of the abbey, each decorated with a different color. In the midst of their revelry, a mysterious figure disguised as a Red Death victim enters and makes his way through each of the rooms. Prospero dies after confronting this stranger, whose "costume" proves to contain nothing tangible inside it; the guests also die in turn. تاریخ نخستین خوانش سال 1998میلادی عنوان: نقاب مرگ سرخ، و هجده قصه دیگر؛ نویسنده: ادگار آلن پو؛ مترجم: کاوه باسمنجی؛ تهران، روزنه ار، 1376؛ در 316ص؛ چاپ دوم 1387؛ چاپ سوم 1389؛ چاپ چهارم 1393؛ موضوع داستانهای کوتاه از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 19م فهرست داستانهای کوتاه در کتاب: «دست نوشته دریک بطری دیگر»؛ «برنیس»؛ «میعاد»؛ «قطع نفس»؛ «متسنکر اشتاین»؛ «لیجیا»؛ «چگونه باید یک مطلب بلکوودی نوشت»؛ «یک مخمصه»؛ «قتلهای خیابان مورگ»؛ «هرگز سر کله ات با شیطان شرط مبند»؛ «چاه و آونگ»؛ «قلب سخنگو»؛ «گربه سیاه»؛ «تدفین پیش هنگام»؛ «سقوط خانه آشیر»؛ «نقاب مرگ سرخ»؛ «بشکه آمونتیلادو»؛ «قورباغه ی لنگ»؛ «ویلیام ویلسن»؛ «داستانسرای گوتیک یا شاعر رمانتیک؟ هیچکدام»؛ چکیده ی داستان «نقاب مرگ سرخ»: بیماری مهلکِ واگیرداری، در کشور شیوع یافته ‌است، که مبتلایان به آن، دچار خونریزی‌های شدید، از منافذ بدنشان، بویژه در ناحیه ی صورت شده، و در عرض نیم ساعت، می‌میرند؛ شاهزاده «پراسپرو»ی جوان، بی‌توجه به درد مردم، همراه با هزار نفر از دوستان، نوازندگان، و رقاصان، به درون کاخ خویش پناه برده، و خود را، از دنیای بیرون، تا رفتن شبح مرگ از آن سرزمین، جدا می‌سازد تمامی امکانات، در اینجا وجود دارد، و شاهزاده، ترتیب یک مهمانی بالماسکه ی باشکوه را می‌دهد؛ نوازندگان می‌نوازند، و رقاصان می‌خرامند، و مهمانان سرخوشند، تا اینکه، بانگ غریب ساعت عظیم آبنوسی، که در انتهای یکی از راهروهای کاخ، قرار دارد، آرامش آنان ‌را، برهم می‌ریزد؛ این قسمت از کاخ، با سلیقه ی شاهزاده «پراسپرو»، ساخته شده ‌است، و معماری عجیبی دارد؛ هفت اتاق، با پنجره‌ هایی رنگی، در انتهای راهروهایی، که ناگهان پیچ می‌خورند، قرار دارد؛ اثاثیه ی شش اتاق، همرنگ پنجره‌ های رنگی بوده، و با عبور نور از شیشه‌ های «آبی»، «ارغوانی»، «سبز»، «نارنجی»، «سفید» و «بنفش»، آنها جلوه ‌ای ویژه، به اتاق‌ها می‌دهن؛ اما رنگ شیشه‌ های پنجره ی هفتمین اتاق، که لوازم، و تزئیناتی سیاهرنگ دارد، به سرخی خون است، و عبور نور از آنها، چنان حالت هولناکی، به اتاق می‌بخشد؛ که کمتر کسی، از مهمانان، جرات گام نهادن، به آن را یافته ‌است؛ ساعت عظیم آبنوس، در این اتاق قرار دارد، که سر هر ساعت، با بانگی غریب، می‌نوازد، و چنان احوال حاضران را، پریشان می‌سازد، که رنگ از رخسارشان پریده، سکوت نموده، و به طنین آن، گوش فرا می‌دهند؛ با پایان یافتن آن، مهمانان لبخندی زده، و می‌گویند، که بار دیگر چنین نخواهند شد، ولی با برخاستن دوباره ی بانگ ساعت، همان دلهره، و سراسیمگی، در وجودشان رخنه می‌کند، و با پایان یافتنش، دوباره به جشن و سرور می‌پردازند تا اینکه، ساعت دوازده شب رسید، و ساعت عظیم، باید، دوازده ضربه می‌نواخت؛ سراسیمگی، بار دیگر، بر مهمانان چیره شد، و مجبور به سکوت، و گوش سپردن، به بانگ ساعت، که پژواکی دهشتناک داشت، شدند؛ اما ناگهان، همهمه ‌ای برخاست، که ناشی از وحشت، و نفرت بود؛ در میان مهمانان، بیگانه ‌ای ظاهر شده بود، که به جای لباس فاخر، جامه ی گور بر تن، و نقابی، همچون صورت جنازه‌ های خشک شده، بر چهره داشت؛ او حتی، تا آنجا پیش رفته بود، که سرتاپایش را، همچون یکی از قربانیان مرگ سرخ، خون ‌آلود ساخته بود شاهزاده «پراسپرو»، که از دیدن هیبت جنازه ‌وار او، به لرزه افتاده بود، آن را، توهینی بزرگ، به خود دانست، و با خشم فریاد کشید، تا دستگیرش نموده، و مجازاتش کنند؛ اما هیچ‌کس، جرات نزدیک شدن به او را، نداشت، و شبح، با گام‌هایی پرطمانینه، از کنار شاهزاده، که در اتاق «آبی» ایستاده بود، گذشت، و بی‌آنکه کسی، متوقفش سازد، از اتاق‌های «ارغوانی»، «سبز»، «نارنجی»، و «سفید»، عبور کرد، و به انتهای اتاق «بنفش» رسید؛ شاهزاده، که از گستاخی ناشناس، و بزدلی خود، به شدت خشمگین شده بود، خنجرش را کشید، و به دنبال بیگانه دوید؛ ناگهان، شبح ایستاد، و به سمت شاهزاده برگشت؛ مهمانان، که از ترس، از جایشان تکان نخورده بودند، با شنیدن صدای فریاد شاهزاده، به سوی او دویدند؛ شاهزاده «پراسپرو»ی جوان، بر زمین افتاده، و مرده بود، و ناشناس کفن‌ پوش، بدون اینکه حرکتی کند، در سایه ی ساعت عظیم آبنوس، در اتاق «سیاه» ایستاده بود؛ مهمانان خشمگینانه، به درون اتاق «سیاه»، یورش برده، جامه ی بیگانه را دریده، و نقاب، از صورتش برمی‌گیرند، اما در زیر آن، هیچ چیز نیست؛ آنگاه با ناامیدی در می‌یابند، که او «مرگ سرخ» بوده، که همچون شبحی نقاب‌دار، به میان آنان خزیده بود؛ شب ‌زنده ‌داران، یکی پس از دیگری، بر زمین افتاده و جان می‌سپارند، و با مرگ آخرین مهمان، زندگی ساعت بزرگ آبنوسی نیز، به پایان می‌رسد آنگاه، تنها چیزی که در قصر باقی ماند، سیاهی بود؛ و تباهی؛ و مرگ سرخ...؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 01/12/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    Death waits for no man. Time can’t stop the inevitable; it can only delay it. This tale, perhaps, embodies the idea that death is an unavoidable end for all; it is one that we all must embrace because it simply cannot be escaped. Time will run out for everyone eventually. And now was acknowledged the presence of Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in his despairing posture of his fall. Death waits for no man. Time can’t stop the inevitable; it can only delay it. This tale, perhaps, embodies the idea that death is an unavoidable end for all; it is one that we all must embrace because it simply cannot be escaped. Time will run out for everyone eventually. And now was acknowledged the presence of Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in his despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all. In this story Poe is not blatant. He is obscure, subtle and a little bit profound. There are several layers of meaning in here, which can each produce a new interpretation. Indeed, in order to escape the approaching “Red Death” Prince Prospero decides to hide in a series of abbeys. They shield out the approaching darkness, and to accompany him he takes one thousand knights and gentlemen; he only takes the so called best of what society has to offer. Together they wait out the blight that infests their land. They party and they frolic; they relax and they become complacent. Well, until a mysterious entity turns up and murders them all. It’s shapeless and spectral; it wears a red party mask and almost blends in with the gathered sycophants. This really got me thinking. What exactly is this “red death?” The ending is suggestive of a bloody death for all those gathered, but the beginning speaks a different tale. It is suggestive of a blunting of emotion and a separation from the infected fellow man. It speaks of an incoming petulance. Either way the fate remains the same for all. No man, whether he is high or low born, can escape death. Poe’s allegory hints that those who attempt to avoid the inevitable will, ultimately, be punished. That would explain why the party guests receive the most gruesome of endings. They received a real blood “red death” rather than a common passing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    The Masque of the Red Death, written in 1842 by Edgar Allan Poe, is a surprisingly short story, which is generally regarded to be allegorical. In it, Prince Prospero is so terrified of the pestilential "Red Death", that he walls himself and a thousand wealthy nobles up in his castellated abbey, where they have a masquerade ball, moving from room to room. Obviously they are going to come to a sticky end. At the time of writing Poe's wife was suffering from tuberculosis, and there was an epidemic The Masque of the Red Death, written in 1842 by Edgar Allan Poe, is a surprisingly short story, which is generally regarded to be allegorical. In it, Prince Prospero is so terrified of the pestilential "Red Death", that he walls himself and a thousand wealthy nobles up in his castellated abbey, where they have a masquerade ball, moving from room to room. Obviously they are going to come to a sticky end. At the time of writing Poe's wife was suffering from tuberculosis, and there was an epidemic of cholera in Baltimore which he saw, so it is likely that he was very preoccupied with illness and death at the time. Nevertheless this is a beautifully painted story. The seven-chambered apartment is vividly described, each having its own colour both by furnishings and illuminated by coloured light through the windows. A sense of foreboding is created as the final room is black, with blood-red light. There is much festivity as the guests move through the chambers, until (view spoiler)[they come across a shrouded figure in a blood-spattered robe, whose mask looks like the face of a cadaver. Prospero chases the figure to the end room, but dies horribly after confronting it, as do all the guests. At the end of the story it becomes evident that the intangible spectre was the "Red Death" itself. (hide spoiler)] The author has used one of his favourite settings, a castle; the large clock clanging every hour increases the mounting tension; (view spoiler)[the spectre at the end causing the demise of all the characters in a gruesome unearthly way; (hide spoiler)] all these are classic Poe.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Moha Dem

    Even if this is a short story, Edgar Allan Poe knew how to make a piece of art out of it ... when he was like describing scenes, I felt like am already in front of that castle he was talking about ... I should read it in french too i guess

  12. 5 out of 5

    Meike

    Imagine there is a mysterious illnes ravaging the country and a rich leader decides to deny reality by partying with his croonies in a well-protected mansion - no, Poe did not somehow foresee the sad tale of Prince Stupido in the White House, but it's unsettling how timely his "Masque of the Red Death" currently is. In the classic short story, Prince Prospero (he's like, prosperous, get it?) witnesses half of his population wasting away due to a plague that leads to profuse bleeding and death wi Imagine there is a mysterious illnes ravaging the country and a rich leader decides to deny reality by partying with his croonies in a well-protected mansion - no, Poe did not somehow foresee the sad tale of Prince Stupido in the White House, but it's unsettling how timely his "Masque of the Red Death" currently is. In the classic short story, Prince Prospero (he's like, prosperous, get it?) witnesses half of his population wasting away due to a plague that leads to profuse bleeding and death within 30 minutes after contraction, and because that's kinda distressing, he summons 1000 of his noble buddies and hides in an abbey. But of course, there is no contemplation: "The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the Red Death." After 5 or 6 months, they throw a party feat. Venetian masks and all in the seven colorfully designed rooms - and guess who's coming to join the extravaganza? Yep, the Red Death. It's possible to read this as a morality tale about the inevitability of death, the great equalizer, but that would be atypical for Poe - it would be a mistake to see it solely as that. Poe always writes about the functions of the human mind, and it's interesting how he investigates our longing for escapism. Seven rooms, time approaching seven months - seven deadly sins, and while Prospero and his buddies indulge in some of them, they are also victims of the human condition as such, a.k.a. the original sin. And then there is the maze-like architecture of the abbey, where windows are described like eyes (hello, The Fall of the House of Usher), and the final black room is decorated like a coffin and contains an ebony clock counting our earthly time. The house, it also reflects the intricate structure and colorful moods and emotions of the human mind. So what's the condition that's killing people off, who is the Red Death? The masks immediately make you think of the plague doctor, but the guests of the masquerade are just imposters trying to heal by denying the condition. Considering the fact that Poe's mother, foster mother and brother died of tuberculosis and his wife/cousin Virgina was suffering from it while he wrote the story, this might be what he had in mind. The illness could also refer to cholera, as the author witnessed a cholera epidemic in Baltimore. In a non literal sense, it could simply stand for sin, or the cruelty of random destiny that you can't escape. Do I really have to point out that everybody needs to read Poe, because he was a damn genius? His stories show the potential of gothic horror as high literature.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mizuki

    The timeless lesson taught to us through Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Masque of the Red Death' is: don't do any partying when there is a fucking virus outbreak going on! Stay safe everyone, the crisis isn't over yet! The timeless lesson taught to us through Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Masque of the Red Death' is: don't do any partying when there is a fucking virus outbreak going on! Stay safe everyone, the crisis isn't over yet!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

    In one of my Literature textbooks, this is the story the book chose to best set the example of how important setting can be to a story. Poe's incredible talent in setting mood through the most miniscule of details is powerful as he establishes dread, irony, and a hefty infusion of Gothic feel by detailing the colors of a series of rooms and what they represent to the audience and characters. The symbolism of the clock is musical and alluring; the ominous clang and the dancers reactions, with its In one of my Literature textbooks, this is the story the book chose to best set the example of how important setting can be to a story. Poe's incredible talent in setting mood through the most miniscule of details is powerful as he establishes dread, irony, and a hefty infusion of Gothic feel by detailing the colors of a series of rooms and what they represent to the audience and characters. The symbolism of the clock is musical and alluring; the ominous clang and the dancers reactions, with its dong indicating the time, further spells out a foreboding mood and tone. Even the pattern the rooms are walked through speaks volumes. The first room as light blue can symbolize brightness and innocence, skies and springs and births and new beginnings. Each of the seven rooms has a window, all with the color matching the interior of their walls, the exception being the final, seventh room: black. Poe has stated that stories are best enjoyed if they can be read in one sitting. The Masque of the Red Death is indeed short, only a few pages long, and so it should speak volumes that Poe chose this short space to go into detail about the rooms. He goes into the most detail about the black, final room as its significance - death, the ultimate end, the irony - is the most important element of the story. It is also in this room that the clock beckons and waits. Without getting into details about any of the characters, Poe concentrates on setting and the most important and only qualities about the prince that the audience needs to know - his fear of the Red Plague and death, his ultimate arrogance in the face of death, believing he can seal it off and defeat it by abiding within his castle walls. The party-goers feel the same, reassured by the self-imposed power the prince claims, dancing around at midnight behind their masks, stopping only when the clock chimes its ominous call, feeling a small hesitation but quickly ignoring it again as they resume merry dancing and happily embracing false securities. Death as the ultimate, inevitable force erupts onto the party. The prince then proceeds from room to room in a circular order, indicating from life to different stages of color, to the inevitable black which is the end room, from which there is no escape. Poe was an original type of writer who aspired to make a solid career as a literary critic. Confident in his writing ability and seeking to inject freshness into words by developing the world's first detective story and gothic pieces which whispered doses of irony, he isn't the type to resort to already used phrases or cliches. Because of this, I find high relevance in the ending paragraph, where he writes: And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. Instantly I recognized "come like a thief in the night" as the biblical words spoken by Jesus when referring to the apocalypse. It would come without warning and begin the reign of death, as He comes "like a thief in the night." A powerful tale about the finality of an ending which can't be avoided, Poe is to be admired for capturing such a significant range of emotions using creative settings in a short span of pages.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aishu Rehman

    This is a typical type Poe short story in terms of its dark, gloomy, gothic atmosphere and also its obscurity since the story requires deep-analysis and interpretation. However, it is different from others due to its didactic message: Death is inevitable, no matter what you do and no matter who you are, you cannot escape it just like the Prince Prospero - an allusion to the Tempest.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Loretta

    Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite authors. The Masque of the Red Death was very well written. I love the way Poe uses words to describe the atmosphere of the story. So tantalizing. Not his best short story in my opinion but worth reading. Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite authors. The Masque of the Red Death was very well written. I love the way Poe uses words to describe the atmosphere of the story. So tantalizing. Not his best short story in my opinion but worth reading.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul Perry

    Actually came up on my podcast feed, on the Memory Palace, read by Nate DiMeo. I'd meant to post about it anyway as the best comment on the White House superspreader event was made by blogger and podcaster Driftglass on the Professional Left podcast: "The Masque of the Red Death just gets funnier EVERY SINGLE TIME! (with thanks to Beetlejuice)" Actually came up on my podcast feed, on the Memory Palace, read by Nate DiMeo. I'd meant to post about it anyway as the best comment on the White House superspreader event was made by blogger and podcaster Driftglass on the Professional Left podcast: "The Masque of the Red Death just gets funnier EVERY SINGLE TIME! (with thanks to Beetlejuice)"

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

    I'm loving Poe so far. I'm surprised I haven't been given recommendation for him so far but I guess not many of my GR friends have read his work. I'm loving Poe so far. I'm surprised I haven't been given recommendation for him so far but I guess not many of my GR friends have read his work.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Edgar Allan Poe’s highly symbolic short story about death and the futility of attempting to avoid it, is one of the most read short stories of all time. In these days of pestilence abroad, it made for a reminder that things could be worse, but also that time marches regardless of circumstance and that death is to come for all of us, and often when least expected.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sanjay Gautam

    I think one should read this short story amid this Corona crisis.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jack Heath

    5 Stars. For its appropriateness in the time of COVID-19, I gave this horror story 5 stars. On its own, perhaps one lower, but that it surfaced 178 years ago is astonishing. A masquerade ball is being held by Prince Prospero, a man who thought himself privileged, at which he and his guests do their best to ignore "The Red Death (that) had long devastated the country." There is no such disease in reality; it may have been a stand-in for tuberculosis which had recently taken Poe's wife, cholera, t 5 Stars. For its appropriateness in the time of COVID-19, I gave this horror story 5 stars. On its own, perhaps one lower, but that it surfaced 178 years ago is astonishing. A masquerade ball is being held by Prince Prospero, a man who thought himself privileged, at which he and his guests do their best to ignore "The Red Death (that) had long devastated the country." There is no such disease in reality; it may have been a stand-in for tuberculosis which had recently taken Poe's wife, cholera, the bubonic plague, or just the inevitability of the end of life. The 7 pages came out in "Graham's Magazine" in 1842; I read it in 1960's "The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales." The Prince and his friends had retreated to his castellated abbey, and then sealed it shut to prevent the pestilence from entering. Their refuge had seven large party rooms of varying colour, all but the last full of people dancing to the music of life. But the farthest room was velvet black; it held an ebony clock which boomed every hour. At midnight, a tall and gaunt figure emerged, wearing a mask of the Red Death. Unfortunately, the "thief in the night" was already inside. (December 2020)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jim C

    This is a short story that tells the tale of a prince who is trying to escape a disease. He locks himself and guests in a castle to avoid this disease. I absolutely loved this short story and it might be in my top five short stories ever. I believe this story resonates with me as we are about a year into the coronavirus pandemic and I could not help but connect the dots. Even with this connection this story is more than that. This story is only several pages long. Within that short amount of time This is a short story that tells the tale of a prince who is trying to escape a disease. He locks himself and guests in a castle to avoid this disease. I absolutely loved this short story and it might be in my top five short stories ever. I believe this story resonates with me as we are about a year into the coronavirus pandemic and I could not help but connect the dots. Even with this connection this story is more than that. This story is only several pages long. Within that short amount of time the author conveys the dread of the situation with the surrounding environment. Using colors or sounds the author builds up the tension until the inevitable confrontation. I think I had to remind myself to breathe while reading this amazing story. This is my second offering that I have read by this author and I am sold. He had an amazing talent with words that portrays the creepy atmosphere in a short amount of time. I know that I will be rereading this short story again in the future.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Arthur Graham

    BUILD THE WALL LOL

  24. 4 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

    This was a re-read of one of my favourite Poe stories. And I loved it like usual.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    I had forgotten how good Edgar Allan Poe's short stories could be and how well he wrote of dark subject matter. What I'm most impressed by is the shifting tones he had chosen for this short story. Some parts are dark and haunting, and others are bright and lively. The vivid imagery of death and disease are really striking. Poe certainly painted quite a picture with this story. The story begins with a plague called the Red Death ravishing the city. A prince and about a thousand of his close aristo I had forgotten how good Edgar Allan Poe's short stories could be and how well he wrote of dark subject matter. What I'm most impressed by is the shifting tones he had chosen for this short story. Some parts are dark and haunting, and others are bright and lively. The vivid imagery of death and disease are really striking. Poe certainly painted quite a picture with this story. The story begins with a plague called the Red Death ravishing the city. A prince and about a thousand of his close aristocrat friends retreat to a fortified abbey to escape the infected masses and wait for the illness to run its course. While there, the prince holds a masquerade--the things we do in quarantine, yeah? (view spoiler)[The masquerade is held in seven rooms, each with a different color and theme with the last room being black to represent death (because of course every party needs a death room). It's all fun and games. Just as everyone is partying and having a good time, a figure dressed in a corpse-like mask and bloodied shroud slips into the abbey to join the fun, and that's when the real fun begins. The prince goes to confront the mysterious figure in the last room only to suddenly drop dead. His friends pull the mask and shroud off the figure to reveal that there's nothing underneath. Then everyone contracts the plague and dies. And that's what you get for partying during a pandemic as people are dying all around you. A fitting end, imo. (hide spoiler)] I find this story funny--the dumb prince is funny, and the act of throwing a party for a thousand people at an abbey of all place during a pandemic is even funnier. It's also funny because it's relevant. So relevant, in fact, that it made me wince a couple of times and swore out loud. There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust. [...] There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion, even by the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made. [...] The figure in question had out-Heroded Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even the prince's indefinite decorum. The quotes above don't showcase how funny this story, but taken as a whole, it's hilarious (to me). I highly recommend it unless you are sick of all things pandemic. Puns not intended, but they happen anyway.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    When I think of Gothic literature, Edgar Allen Poe is sure to come to mind. Although it is a short story, the Masque of the Red Death is chilling. Poe sets up a very atmospheric read with the colorful and indulgent Prince Prospero and the mysterious guest who is both frightening and foreboding. I think the Masque of the Red Death is a fine example of why Poe's works are considered classics. When I think of Gothic literature, Edgar Allen Poe is sure to come to mind. Although it is a short story, the Masque of the Red Death is chilling. Poe sets up a very atmospheric read with the colorful and indulgent Prince Prospero and the mysterious guest who is both frightening and foreboding. I think the Masque of the Red Death is a fine example of why Poe's works are considered classics.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Re-Read, 11/5/17: Maybe my favorite Poe. He has this style, that makes you feel this rush and think, dang, that's cool! I remember feeling more of that in the first read. This time, I don't know if perspectives changed or if I understood the objectivity of the piece better, but I felt a visceral terror flowing through my body from my gut that ended in an explosion of thrill and high, and bodily reactions of goosebumps and chill-bumps in the end. This Red Death guy - not someone I'd like to meet Re-Read, 11/5/17: Maybe my favorite Poe. He has this style, that makes you feel this rush and think, dang, that's cool! I remember feeling more of that in the first read. This time, I don't know if perspectives changed or if I understood the objectivity of the piece better, but I felt a visceral terror flowing through my body from my gut that ended in an explosion of thrill and high, and bodily reactions of goosebumps and chill-bumps in the end. This Red Death guy - not someone I'd like to meet at a gathering. He wears a mask of a human face contorted in agony of plague-death, with wet, shining blood splish-splashed across his death garments. The feeling resembles that of a super-zombie, but one of extreme intelligence and god-likeness. One by one, they all fall down, before the Masque of The Red Death. Poe, Poe, Poe. Amazing! Poe! ------------------------ Original Review: I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this but Poe scares the hell out of me. His prose sinks into your mind, setting the soul on a fire of fear. Man, the personification of a plague, stylized Zorro-like. Disturbing!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Juho Pohjalainen

    A very topical kind of Halloween story to pick up in these troubled times. That may or may not be why, as I read this, I found my heart gripping with fear.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mia

    I love the premise- fearing a horrible sickness that has seized his lands, a hedonistic prince locks himself and hundreds of his friends away in a castle, with an enormous wall running the length of it so nothing can get in or out. But soon the prince's fanciful denial is shattered in a very... strange way. Basically, what my dislike of this comes down to is the length. It's only four pages, which (for me at least) simply is not enough time to become invested in a story and care about its ending. I love the premise- fearing a horrible sickness that has seized his lands, a hedonistic prince locks himself and hundreds of his friends away in a castle, with an enormous wall running the length of it so nothing can get in or out. But soon the prince's fanciful denial is shattered in a very... strange way. Basically, what my dislike of this comes down to is the length. It's only four pages, which (for me at least) simply is not enough time to become invested in a story and care about its ending. The writing is beautiful as always, but there was something missing, something I couldn't quite put my finger on. I didn't really care about the plot, wasn't even rooting for the selfish Prince Prospero to get his comeuppance. The idea of the rooms of all different colours just kinda made me shrug, the same way I shrugged in The Picture of Dorian Gray when everybody is avoiding Dorian because of his incredibly scandalous lifestyle- which pretty much entails collecting foreign instruments and fancy books. I feel that both of those things were supposed to have a greater affect on the reader than they did. Perhaps I'm missing the symbolism of the rooms, though I do have my own theory about the castle itself: that it (view spoiler)[represents the human mind, or maybe just the mind of Prospero, and as much as the enormous ballroom tries, it will never be able to shut out what comes from the black room, which I took to represent paranoia and the knowledge of impending death. (hide spoiler)] Again, I feel I must impress that this may be completely and totally wrong, and maybe my impeded grasp of symbolism is what kept me from enjoying this short tale. It is what it is. I much preferred Ligeia and The Fall of the House of Usher, which, though they're not as well-known as The Masque of the Red Death, are longer and more fleshed-out. Read it here. (Though the Month of Poe is still in full swing, once Halloween passes I'm going to take a little break from Great Tales and Poems. I'm in the mood for some action-adventure fantasy and was thinking of trying The Final Empire, unless any of you guys have some recommendations for a good fantasy book? I haven't explored the genre very much, and I think it's high time I do.)

  30. 5 out of 5

    WhatIReallyRead

    I downloaded a free public domain ebook of The Masque of the Red Death short story for a spooky October read. I've read this in one sitting; it's very short. It's also very topical since it's set during an epidemic, and the characters were in quarantine together. So I took the story literally, even though some critics interpret it allegorically. I liked the writing. I've read some of Poe's other short stories (including horror) in middle school and liked them at the time. But that was over 10 ye I downloaded a free public domain ebook of The Masque of the Red Death short story for a spooky October read. I've read this in one sitting; it's very short. It's also very topical since it's set during an epidemic, and the characters were in quarantine together. So I took the story literally, even though some critics interpret it allegorically. I liked the writing. I've read some of Poe's other short stories (including horror) in middle school and liked them at the time. But that was over 10 years ago. Not sure if I'll read more of his short stories now. I like Poe's writing, but I'm generally not into short stories. I own a volume of his selected poetry though, so I'll definitely read that!

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