Edgar Allan Poe Writing Styles in The Masque of the Red Death

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Allegory and Parable

"The Masque of the Red Death" is considered an allegorical tale; this means that the literal elements of the story are meant to be understood as symbolic of some greater meaning. Britannica Online explains that an allegory "uses symbolic fictional figures and actions to convey truths or generalizations about human conduct or experience." More specifically, this story may be read as a parable, a sub-category of allegory in which, according to Britannica Online, "moral or spiritual relations are set forth."

As a parable, "Masque of the Red Death" is symbolic of how humans respond to the knowledge of their own mortality. The reaction of Prince Prospero and his "thousand friends" to the presence of the Red Death is an attempt to use their material privileges in order to escape the inevitability of their own deaths. But the fact that the "masked figure" slips into their midst...

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This section contains 886 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Masque of the Red Death Study Guide
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The Masque of the Red Death from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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