Edgar Allen Poe’s ?The Masque of the Red Death? is an elaborate allegory that combines objects in the story with visual descriptions to give focus to the reader’s imagination. In the story, a prince named Prospero tries to dodge the Red Death through isolation and seclusion. He hides behind impenetrable walls of his castellated abbey and lets the world take care of its own. But no walls can stop death because it is unavoidable and inevitable. Visual descriptions in the story are used to symbolize the death that came to a dark, unkind and ignorant prince. Prospero failed to see that death “held illimitable dominion over all.”
The manner in which Prospero arranged his castle symbolically hinted the coming of death: “The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue.” This dark manner in which the castle was decorated conforms to the image of the Prince being a ruthless, uncaring ruler.
Prince Prospero?s actions proved to be cowardly, as he and his selection of knights, dames, and nobles, retreated into his castle. He thought that in doing this, he would in some way, escape the wrath of the Red Death. He could care less about his people, locking them out of his home and leaving them uncared-for.
Hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second, the life of the ebony clock slowly dies. This is a hint that the Prince fails to recognize- that man can escape death, but at the end it is inescapable. Him and his court are too busy dancing away and their moment of death comes closer and closer.
Prince Prospero?s efforts of avoid the epidemic is unsuccessful because death will eventually conquer all who oppose. In the final scene, Prospero had to ?confront? the Red Death. This time however, he had no where to run away to and died in encounter with the Red Death. His ultimate enemy was his refusal to except death as it comes.