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THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH

BY EDGAR ALLAN POE
by

Lorena González Sigler

on 11 January 2013

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Transcript of THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH

The story takes place at the abbey of Prince Prospero. Prospero and one thousand other nobles have taken refuge to escape the Red Death, a terrible plague with gruesome symptoms that has swept over the land. The plague is said to kill within half an hour. Prospero and his court are presented as indifferent to the sufferings of the population at large, intending to await the end of the plague in luxury and safety behind the walls of their secure refuge, having welded the doors shut. BRIEF SUM AND INTRODUCTION One night, Prospero holds a masquerade ball to entertain his guests in seven colored rooms of the abbey. Six of the rooms are each decorated and illuminated in a specific color: EDGAR ALLAN POE Edgar Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809.
Elizabeth Poe died in 1811, when Edgar was 2 years old. She had separated from her husband and had taken her three kids with her. Henry went to live with his grandparents while Edgar was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. John Allan and Rosalie was taken in by another family. The disease called the Red Death is fictitious. Poe describes it as causing "sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores" leading to death within half an hour.
It is likely that the disease was inspired by tuberculosis (or consumption, as it was known then), since Poe's wife Virginia was suffering from the disease at the time the story was written. Like the character of Prince Prospero, Poe tried to ignore the fatality of the disease. Poe's mother Eliza, brother William, and foster mother Frances Allan had also died of tuberculosis. Alternatively, the Red Death may refer to cholera; Poe would have witnessed an epidemic of cholera in Baltimore, Maryland in 1831. Others have suggested that the plague is actually Bubonic plague or the Black death, emphasized by the climax of the story featuring the "Red" Death in the "black" room. One writer likens the description to that of a viral hemorrhagic fever or necrotizing fasciitis. It has been suggested that the Red Death is not a disease or sickness at all but something else[clarification needed] that is shared by all of humankind inherently. PRINCE PROSPERO Poe is one of America’s most original, disturbing and powerful writers. Unlike most of his contemporaries, he was more interested in aesthetics than in ethics. Born in Boston, the second of itinerant actors. His father, a man of bohemian lifestyle, had already abandoned the family when his mother died in Richmond( Virginia), leaving three young children. The orphans became wards of different foster parents. 2 4 5 Edgar was brought up-though never legally adopted-by John Allan, a wealthy tobacco merchant, and his childless wife. The boy, renamed Allan, was given a good primary education in Richmond and later in Britain.
Back in America, he entered University of Virginia Poe turned to his biological family in Baltimore, he moved to the household of his widowed paternal aunt and her eight-year-old daughter Virginia, who later become his wife. In the home he helped to nurse his brother William, who was dying of tuberculosis. After his wife’s death, he fell gravely ill and had his least productive year. He was found in semi-conscious and delirious state by an old friend in Baltimore street. Died four days later under mysterious circumstances, officially of congestion of the brain. The last room is decorated in black and is illuminated by a scarlet light- "a deep blood color": because of this chilling pair of colors, very few guests are brave enough to venture into the seventh room. The same room is also the location of a large ebony clock that ominously clangs at each hour, upon which everyone stops talking or dancing and the orchestra stops playing. Once the chiming stops, everyone acts like nothing happened and continue on with the masquerade.
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