The Red Death Mask By Edgar Allan Poe

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The Red Death Mask by Edgar Allan Poe


The story "The Red Death Mask" written by Edgar Allan Poe published in 1842 deals with a disease called the red death that was attacking the entire population, when the prince decides to close his kingdom leaving everyone except his close friends outside.


Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809 in cane, Massachusets and died on October 7, 1849.He was a writer, journalist, critic poet and editor.He is known as the first short story teacher, especially horror and sinister. Poe had a difficult life, as a child his mother died, he was abandoned by his father, he became an alcoholic and his wife, Virginia, died of tuberculosis.

Due to what was mentioned above, the main characteristics of Poe’s stories, the death of a woman, revenge and diseases such as tuberculosis or some type of epidemic are born. This last characteristic is the one that most influenced “The Red Death Mask.”Tuberculosis according to RAE (2014) infected infected with humans and other animal species produced by Koch’s bacillus. This is a disease would report during the nineteenth century when there was still no vaccine or remedy. Tuberculosis was transmitted by sneezing or even speaking.

The genre is narrative and literary current is dark romanticism since it reflects the defects of the human being as well as pessimism in difficult situations. This story reflects the social feature since it testifies to an era, a people and the story includes of ideas and customs of that same people.

The theme of this story is how inevitable death is because Edgar Allan Poe demonstrates it through different symbols . You can see how the bells of the clock were the countdown to death and since they could not do anything to stop time and thus they could represent the reality they had to face. This is reflected in the next appointment “A momentary disturbance toured all that cheerful crowd and while the bells sounded, they could be noticed that they paled to the most (…), the clock beds were heard again, the same were produced the same time and the same onechill"

(Poe, 2015.). In the previous appointment you can see how every time the clock sounded the guests of the party stopped ignoring that death is to arrive and this causes them terror. Also the bells remind the guests that there is nothing they can do to avoid their death.We can see how Poe uses the characteristic of the literary subgenre romanticism obcura in which men and women suspect about the identity of the human soul as a vehicle of the perdition of salvation.

Another representation that is notorious is that despite there would be and lock themselves to evade death, this is impossible for them. Another symbol is the ghostly figure that wears a red mask which represents death.In the next appointment we can see how although the prince toured all the rooms to evade who was chasing him, that is, the red mask, at the time of facing him the dies."Reacted the proximity of the velvet room, she turned sharply and faced who pursued it, a sharp shout rang and the dagger slide flashing on the funeral carpet where the prince fell dead later.”(Poe, 2015).The previous appointment demonstrates a characteristic of dark romanticism which is to represent death with ghostly or supernatural figures.


To conclude, thanks to the facts you can see how the unexpected arrival of death causes a tragic end, the events that confirm this are when the individual of the red mask takes off the mask and causes everyone’s death since they are infected . Also as you can see the different symbols that represent how inevitable death such as the clock, the sound that came out of this and the red mask.Among the arguments mentioned above, it can be seen how people thought they would be saved from the disease and despite the fact that the prince decided to close his castle and not know anything about what happened outside death came to them. That confirms the thesis Edgar Allan Poe shows how inevitable death is through different symbols. It is very important not to be selfish and think only about yourself because if you think about the rest instead of thinking only about yourself it is likely that the end is not so tragic.The message that Poe wants to convey in his work is that people must efforts the problems and also think of others without being selfish.


  • Santander H (2008) Poe, the Death Mask and its correspondence with the population . http;/oncology/piral/edgar/poe/mask/344/population/red/correspondence/p20/ael/
  • Poe, e. (2017). "Extraordinary stories. “Mexico: Legend Editions.
  • Torres, A (2017) "The life of Poe and the relationship with her stories" Mexico.Retrieved from: htpp: // biographiesyvida/edgar/allan/poe/2723/jhl/print/biography/life/relationship/43a/

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