The Masque of the Red Death

September 12, 2023

“The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe is a short story set in a medieval kingdom plagued by a deadly and highly contagious disease known as the Red Death. The story revolves around Prince Prospero, who locks himself and a thousand nobles in a fortified abbey to avoid the contagion.

Prince Prospero throws a lavish masquerade ball within the abbey’s seven color-themed rooms, each elaborately decorated. Despite the extravagant festivities, the atmosphere inside the abbey is eerie and ominous due to the looming presence of the Red Death outside its walls.

A mysterious, masked guest in a costume resembling a victim of the Red Death appears at the ball, unsettling the revelers. Prospero confronts the stranger, but the figure’s appearance and movements cause terror. When Prospero confronts the stranger, he collapses and dies, leading to panic among the guests.

As the guests pursue the intruder through the rooms, they discover that there is no one under the mask and costume, realizing that the Red Death has infiltrated their sanctuary. One by one, the nobles succumb to the disease, and the story ends with the ominous imagery of the clock striking midnight and the Red Death reigning supreme.

“The Masque of the Red Death” is a chilling tale that explores themes of mortality, the inevitability of death, and the folly of trying to escape it through luxury and decadence.