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Word Count: 717
The Masque of the Red Death Poe uses heavy symbolism throughout the story to convey his underlying theme the inevitability of death and the futility of trying to escape death The princes name Prospero generally denotes happiness and prosperity The Prince possesses these characteristics yet is faced with a plague that he desperately attempting to avoid This oxymoron is used to hint that this man of exuberance will soon be faced with tragedy The fires in each of the suite rooms serve as a representation of death Poe depicts them to be a heavy tripod bearing a brazier of fire that projected its rays through tinted glassBut in the western or black chamber the effect of the firelight upon the dark hangings through the blood tinted panes was ghastly in the extreme and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who enter it that there are fewbold enough to set foot within it The description is meant to produce a mysterious atmosphere in the west in contrast to a propitious one in the east This can relate to the pattern of the suns movement The sunrise in the east represents light and new life for the day However the sunset in the west means the end of a day and darkness Poe uses the element of darkness as a visual representation of death The black clock is also a symbolic element in Poes story Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull heavy monotonous clang and when the minute hand made the circuitit was observed that the giddiest turned pale and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused reverie or meditation The timepiece represents the rapid passing of time in life Every time the clock strikes the hour the musicians quit playing and all of the revelers momentarily
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