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Parable A short allegorical story designed to convey some truth religious principle or moral lesson Merriam Websters Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Edition An author will often make a statement advising the audience to read in a manner suited for a parable to ensure the lesson is not overlooked Hawthorne does this in The Ministers Black Veil by deeming his story A Parable in the subtitle Poe states in his Philosophy of Composition that he writes tales with an under-current Poe p491 or lesson one such story this applies to is The Masque of the Red Death Without these reading instructions the embedded parable is easily overlooked Common archetypal symbols are found in parables that discuss the timeless biblical sins greed lust murder etc The tales which follow reveal the consequences for those who immerse themselves in vanity and gluttony He who wears the mask has become too aware of what his peers preach To hide something means to be ashamed of it These people must confront the reality they hide and realize what is true THE STRONGHOLD The people of these stories not only have a mental faade but a physical one too In Masque of the Red Death a prince and his healthy friends and family relocate to a fortress to escape from a deadly plague In The Ministers Black Veil the minister heads a congregation that meets regularly in a holy building to shield itself from evil Each of these environments ensures a sense of safety to the people within who assume they are safe from those evils from which they hide THE FOLLOWERS The people who seek shelter possess traits that are prerequisites to being in the stronghold Only those who meet Princes standards may attend his castelated abbey Prince Prospero is the symbol of prosperity and happiness Those who want to be close to this happiness must conform to specific criteria elite class good health and vivacity Similarly members of a religious
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