The Masque of the Red Death
"The Masque of the Red Death", originally published as "The Mask of the Red Death", is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe and 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, has a masquerade ball within seven rooms of his abbey, each decorated with a different color. In the midst of their revelry, a mysterious figure enters and makes his way through each of the rooms. When Prospero confronts this stranger, he falls dead. The story follows many traditions of Gothic fiction and is often analyzed as an allegory about the inevitability of death, though some critics advise against an allegorical reading. Many different interpretations have been presented, as well as attempts to identify the true nature of the disease of the "Red Death." (From feedbooks.com)
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The Masque of the Red Death
Which of the following do we NOT learn about the Red Death in the first paragraph of the story?
The disease called the Red Death is fictitious. It is likely that the disease was inspired by tuberculosis, since Poe's wife was suffering from the disease at the time the story was written.
Why does Prince Prospero summon his friends and retire into "deep seclusion" in his gated and well-provisioned abbey?
August is an adjective meaning majestic or awe-inspiring.
Which of the following is a TRUE statement?
A masquerade is a party to which the attendees wear elaborate masks, like those seen in this image. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following describes the structure of Poe's sentences in this paragraph?
Here, Poe describes the masquerade guests' reactions to the sound of the clock. Why do you think "the giddiest grew pale and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brown as if in confused revery or meditation"?
Which of the following literary devices does the highlighted text contain?
Notice here that Poe describes dreams as the inhabitants of this masquerade. Rather than people, dreams go to and fro among the various rooms, and dreams stand still when the clock strikes. This adds a surreal feeling to the story, which itself feels like a dream.
"Hernani" is a play by the French author Victor Hugo. This literary allusion is used to describe the magnitude of Prince Prospero's masquerade.
The appearance of a new masked guest at the party elicits feelings of ___________________ in the other guests.
In your own words, please explain what Poe means when he writes that the stranger was "shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave."
The imagery of blood and time throughout the story gesture toward a theme. Which of the following themes is suggested by these images?
Herod, known as Herod the Great, was a Roman king of Judea. He's described as a madman who murdered his own family; he is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere. He was a reckless extremest, and this allusion to him suggests that the "figure in question" is, too.
Is this a moralistic tale? If so, what is the moral? If not, what is the point? Please support and explain your answer.
A theme has been emerging in this story, and this short video will give you some tips on how to identify it. (This annotation contains a video)
Masque of the Red Death Quiz
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