The Masque of the Red Death Short Summary
The “Masque of the red death” is an 1842 publication by Edgar Allan Poe. It describes a tale of terror, plague, and death, all written in a gothic manner.
A Preview of the Story
During an unknown year, a certain land is invaded by the read death. This is a fast-spreading disease that rapidly kills everyone. Its victims immediately experience dizziness and acute pains, succeeded by bleeding from the pores.
Everyone is in the grip of terror. However, Prince Prospero is ready to do all it takes to avoid being infected with the disease. As a result, the feudal overlord picks a group of a thousand like-minded individuals from the higher social classes and quarantines them within an ostentatious and highly secured abbey. Therein, they intend to enjoy themselves as they please while the disease decimates the rest of society outside.
After some months of isolation, the entertainments of the courtier’s peak within a bountiful concealed ball contained in a complex labyrinth of seven rooms. Each of the rooms has been decorated in a separate color and embedded with matching stained-glass windows. All of them are illuminated by one fire in the middle. The chamber at the end has black decorations, with crimson red windows. This results in an effect that deters anybody from entering into that room. The chamber’s ebony clock also strikes bizarre notes as it chimes, thus making the musicians at the ball to stop. The masqueraders wear exotic costumes that exemplify the Prince himself.
Just as the masquerade approaches the climax of the fanfare at the stroke of midnight, the merrymakers catch sight of a red-dressed figure with a mask similar to the symptoms of the advanced stages of the Red Death malady. The sight of this stranger infuriates the prince, and he deems it an insult to his strategy. He immediately orders for the seizure of the person, followed by his unmasking and finally, getting hanged at the battlements the next day at sunrise. However, nobody dares to touch this mysterious individual as he goes back through the labyrinth of colorful rooms.
In the end, furious Prospero chases after the contemptuous guest and pursues him into the black room. It is there that the figure reveals himself as the human incarnate of the Red Death. It has come to dominate the last refuge of the mighty and arrogant.