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Nadya Paramitha

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Offering H

The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

Formalism and Structuralism Analysis

Introduction

The masque of the Red Death is a short story written by the master of English
gothic horror, Edgar Allan Poe. It had been originally published in the May 1842
issue of Graham's Magazine, a City of Brotherly Love literary magazine that he
served as editor. The story happens in an exceedingly country wherever the plague
was ruined by what they known as, the Red Death which as what the author
describes has “sharp pains, and explosive symptom, so lush injury at the pores,
with dissolution.” The story revolves around patrician Prospero and therefore the
happenings throughout his grand masquerade party.

Summary

A disease known as Red Death plagues the fictional country where this story
was made, and it causes its victims to die quickly and horribly. Although the
disease spreads rampantly, the prince, Prospero, felt happy and hopeful. He
decided to lock the gates of his palace to fend off the plague, ignoring diseases
that were damaging the land. After a few months, he throws a fancy mask ball.
For this celebration, he decorated the rooms of his house in a single color. The
easternmost room is decorated in blue, with blue stained glass windows. The next
room is purple with the same stained glass window pattern. The rooms continue
westward, according to this design, in the following color settings: green, orange,
white and purple. The seventh room is black, with a red window. Also in this
room stands a ebony clock. When the clock rings every hour, the sound is so loud
and disturbing that everyone stops talking and the orchestra stops playing.
However, when the clock was silent, the rooms were so beautiful and strange that
they seemed to be filled with dreams, circling among joyful people. However,
most guests avoid the final, black-red room because this room contains hours and
an unpleasant atmosphere.

At midnight, a new guest appears, dressed more horribly than his colleagues.
His mask was like a corpse's face; his clothes resembled a shroud, and his face
showed bloodstains which indicated that he was a victim of Red Death. Prospero
becomes angry because someone with a bit of humor and frivolity will join his
party. However, the other guests were so afraid of this masked man that they
failed to prevent him from walking through each room. Prospero finally overtook
a new guest in the black-red room. As soon as he faced the figure, Prospero died.
When other party goers enter the room to attack the cloaked man, they discover
that there is no one under the costume. Everyone then dies, because Death Red
has infiltrated the castle. "Darkness, Decay and Red Death" finally won.

Analysis

a. Character

The story is consists of two main characters, which are: Prince Prospero and
also the uninvited guest. The story started with the introduction of the Red
Death that had aforementioned to be the one who had long desolated the
country. Within the story, the uninvited guest appeared before the time of day
strikes. The “spectral imaged” is delineate as tall and skinny and shrouded
from head to foot within the habiliments of the grave. Aristocrat Prospero is
delineate to be daring and a strong man. He remained happy, unfearing and
sagacious amidst the death of the foremost in his city brought by the Red
Death. However these may simply be the irony of what he's need to be. He
tried to avoid the uninvited guest by secluding himself within his “castellated
abbey”; providing all his wants and pleasure. The instant once he arranged his
eyes on the “spectral image”, the aristocrat was seen to be convulsed and
shuddered initially however being unfearing, he was maddened by the
mysterious presence. Upon knowing the presence of the uninvited guest, he
ran through the various colored rooms. Enraged by his cowardliness, aristocrat
Prospero determined to face the trespasser with a dagger however suddenly,
however, a pointy cry was detected and there lies the autumn to his death
within the presence of the Red Death.

b. Characterization
- Protagonist: Prince Prospero
A wealthy nobleman and a victim of the Red Death. Prince Prospero’s
wealth turns out to be irrelevant in the natural cycle of life and death.
- Antagonist: The mysterious guest
The personification of the Red Death. The mysterious guest brings death
to those who deny their own mortality.

c. Plot
- Exposition
Meet the Read Death (disease) and meet Prince Prospero-he retreats to
secluded castle with friends
- Rising action
Prospero throws a masquerade ball and a creepy mysterious new guest
mysteriously shows up in a Red Death Costume at midnight- all scared.
- Climax
The moment of confrontation when the Red Death turns around to face
Prospero. Doesn't last long & Prospero falls down and dies immediately.
- Falling action
Everybody dies and all their blood is all over his beautiful fabrics. Clock
dies. Candles die.
- Resolution
" And darkness and decay and red death held dominion over all"....Death's
rule has no boundaries. Death has conquered all. Prospero foolish to think
he could escape death.
- External conflict
Man vs. Nature
The red death is a force attacking humanity

d. Setting

The story was take place in one among patrician Prospero’s castled abbey. It’s
represented to be an in depth and luxurious structure. It additionally features a
robust and lofty wall girdled in it and therefore the walls had gates of iron. The
mask materialized on the seven colorful imperial suits. The primary space within
the suite is blue, the second is purple, the third is inexperienced, the fourth is
orange, the fifth is white, and therefore the sixth is violet. The seventh space is
special however square measure or everyone seems to be} not very paying a lot of
anticipation to the current space as a result of its adorned altogether black and its
windows are a deep blood red. There’s additionally associate ebony clock that was
placed inside—the only 1 among the remainder.

e. Point of view: third person (omniscient)

The point of view drifted tons of times throughout the event of the story. The
storyteller clearly could be a third-person however there are a unit sure} times
once it shifts to 1st or a primary} person’s purpose of read by speech
communication lines like “But first let me tell of the rooms during which it
absolutely was command.” however as analyzed within the context, the storyteller
was simply a mere spectator to the total event. The storyteller was narrating the
total story while not giving abundant data regarding the characters’ feelings or
thoughts—the elaborated rooms, the thoughts of the audience within the rooms
and even patrician Prospero himself. The storyteller didn't state what was patrician
Prospero was thinking the total time; instead, the storyteller would provide United
States the hints of what he was inquiring. All concepts were from the observation
from a bird’s eye read. This kind of purpose of read is additional on showing than
telling the readers

f. Tone: dark, grave, and ominous

The author had foxily chosen the proper words to form the entire story feels
gothic and evokes the spookily feeling; even started at the terribly starting of the
story. By doing this, the author had created an environment of sensing dark and
suspense throughout the story. Basing on the primary paragraph alone, the author
had already used the word, Red, Death, fatal, blood, hideous, sharp pains and etc.
These words might already replicate the readers to feel uncomfortable and
disturbed throughout the entire ride of the plot. Even once the author mentioned
the word “happy” in describing the patrician, It didn’t have abundant result to
form it optimistic as a result of you recognize that shortly, one thing dangerous
can happen. The author additionally additional plenty of spices on making
suspense and spooky thrills through being careful on the descriptions and
therefore the uses of plenty of images.

g. Writing style: Meticulously Composed, Colorful, and always Elegant

The story was published in English. The fashion of the author was written
elegantly and gothic. The paragraphs were organized supported the flow of the
story. Although every paragraph doesn’t have a similar live as a result of a
number of it had been composed longer et al not; however these paragraphs were
vital items to make the image of the puzzle. The primary paragraph began with the
introducing of the plague of the Red Death. The second paragraph was the
patrician, and so the third was the castle and next was the seven rooms so on till
the last paragraph ends the story of unveiling the presence of the Red Death. The
author created a very sensible job of dividing the components of the story and to
form it an entire. The author is additionally keen on golf stroke plenty of details in
describing things and therefore the reaction of the characters within the story.

h. Theme and genre


1. Theme
- Death is inevitable.
- Wealth and power cannot help anyone from escaping death.
- Death is equal among everyone, rich or poor.
2. Genre: Horror or Gothic Fiction, Fantasy, Literary Fiction

i. Literary analysis
There are a lot of symbolism that was observed in the whole context. Poe shows
about death in this story with allegory. This story as an allegory about life and
death and human powerlessness to avoid the clutches of death.

- Prince Prospero symbolizes the end of feudalism. Prospero’s inviting


only wealthy knights and ladies to his castle at the expense of peasants
and commoners represents the socioeconomic divide between
landowners and peasants that existed during the feudalistic period. It is
not coincidental that the Black Death, which reduced the number of
workers, led to a demand for labor and played an important role in
ending feudalism in Europe.
- The guest symbolizes the death of feudalism, an economic system in
which peasants worked the land and nobles made the money. Because
one of Prospero’s guests are named, we do know, however, that they
are of noble blood and that peasants and commoners are locked out.
- The uninvited guest symbolizes death

a. Allegorical meaning

The Red Death represents, both literally and allegorically, death. No matter how
beautiful the castle, how luxurious the clothing or rich the food, no mortal not
even a prince can escape death.

b. Meaning of 7 Rooms/symbols/allegory

The rooms of the palace, lined up in a series, represent the STAGES OF LIFE.
Rooms set up EAST to WEST- like the cycle of a day. Sun rises in EAST. Sun
sets in WEST. NIGHT symbolizes death. The progression from EAST to WEST
by both Prospero and mysterious guest SYMBOLIZE journey from BIRTH TO
DEATH.

Each room is a stage of life:

- 1st room-BLUE: represents birth


- 2nd room-PURPLE: represents the beginning of growth
- 3rd room-GREEN: represents "The Spring of Life" (Youth)
- 4th room-ORANGE: represents the Summer/Autumn of life
- 5th room-WHITE: represents age
- 6th room-VIOLET (shadowy color): represents darkness
- 7th doom-BLACK: represents death

c. More symbols
- THE CLOCK OVER LAST ROOM: reminds guest of death's final
judgement
- THE HOURLY RINGING OF BELLS: reminder of the passing of
time
- LAST BLACK ROOM: Endpoint that all guests fear
- The ebony clock rings each hour. Its sound is so loud and distracting
that everyone stops talking and the orchestra stops playing. The
ringing of a bell every hour is a reminder of the passage of time,
inevitable and finally personal.

References

Bibi, Maryam. 2016. The mask of red death.


https://www.slideshare.net/Marym123/the-mask-of-red-death-64087495. (access 5
November 2019)

Paxton, Shannon. 2014. The Masque of the Red Death literary analysis.
https://prezi.com/jookb1rzuhai/the-masque-of-the-red-death-literary-analysis/.
(access 5 November 2019)

Roldan, Maria Eugenia. 2014. The masque of the red death.


https://www.slideshare.net/mariaeugeniaroldan77/the-masque-of-the-red-death-
39987517 (access 5 November 2019)

Samphoca. 2019. The Masque of the Red Death—Plot.


https://quizlet.com/133610566/the-masque-of-the-red-death-plot-flash-cards/.
(access 5 November 2019)

Shmoop. 2019. The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe.
https://www.shmoop.com/masque-of-red-death/literary-devices.html (access 5
November 2019)