Why would Poe use the number 7 in all the stories?

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Why does Poe always use the number seven in his stories? Such as in "The Masque of the Red Death." Where Poe used room number seven as the room everyone stayed away from.

-- Anonymous, September 04, 2000



The use of the number seven in "The Masque of the Red Death" is, in my opinion, due to the fact that, at the time, a person's life was thought of as consisting of seven stages between birth and death. There are also seven days in a week. The clock is also an aspect of the imagery which Poe uses to symbolise the passage of time in this particular tale (despite his own dislike of allegory). At the end of the tale when the Prince chases the mysterious figure through the seven rooms, he moves from east to west - the same way that the sun moves through the sky (yet another allusion to the passage of time).

So why, then, is portraying the passage of time so important to Poe? Well, he is at great pains to emphasise the precautions that the Prince's courtiers go to to shut themselves in the castellated abbey. They are attempting to escape death, but Poe is determined to show that escaping death is not possible by having these allusions to the inevitability of death (the ultimate result of time) - the clock, the rooms, the east to west direction - inside the building.

Also, by associating the colour red ("a deep blood color") with death, he is attempting to show that death is as much a part of life as blood itself.

-- Anonymous, September 05, 2000

Poe would have used the number 7 because it has to do with the bible and he used it in much the same way as Marylin Manson does.

-- Anonymous, September 06, 2000

I believe the association with the # 7 has a great deal to do with time passing........... many of his books have to do with the evolution of time....... I don't believe he uses it in an evil sense such as"Marily Manson"

-- Anonymous, September 11, 2000

In "The Masque of the Red Death" the seven rooms and colors all corrispond with the 7 deadly sins.

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2001

I would have to say that Poe's use of the number seven has nothing to do with the Bible. But one religion that I believe Poe looked at was Mesopotomien. In that religion, it talks about Inanna, Queen of the Heaven and Earth, being forced to go through 7 gates to visit her sister. While going through the seven gates, she has to remove one of her garments, which, to me, refers to the colors of the seven rooms in Masque of the Red Death. And when she reaches her sister in the Underworld, she is naked and unprotected, just like Prospero. This is just my opinion.

-- Anonymous, December 01, 2002

After reading all of these posts on this site, I just have to say... well, so many people on here are adamantly claiming that *their* idea of what Poe meant by the rooms is correct. It may not be! Something was surely meant by the number 7, but we cannot say what. Surely the life cycle... movement from birth to death... but also the 7 deadly sins, the 7 stages of life, even the 7 elements in the Mesopotamian story mentioned above. Seven is a very potent number, and has been considered holy and special by numerous religions and philosophies. So please, stop trying to limit your interpretation of the rooms to ONE version... you're only limiting yourself.

-- Anonymous, December 08, 2002

Maybe it is because I had seven eels for breakfast today.

-- Anonymous, December 09, 2002

I think that eel eel eel is the coolest guy on the earth.All you guys are morons its the 7 eels that were poured into a T-1000 or maybe being flushed down the toilet.

-- Anonymous, December 09, 2002

vaginal secretions?

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2004

First of all, the number seven does NOT represent the bible, it represents god. As does the number 6 represent satan.

And I agree that deciding that the number is symbolic of just one thing, is limiting. Why can't it represent ALL of those things?

Oh, and PLEASE never, ever compare the literary genius Poe to Marilyn Manson again. Ick.


-- Anonymous, October 05, 2004

the number 7 represents heaven, and angels, anything sacred, its a good number, whilst the number 6 represents the devil and shit.. so if u wondering my child why he has number 7 on all his writings, he prolly doing tat cus he wanna respex god alot.. aite thanks for ure time... bye

-- Anonymous, October 10, 2004

... I'm not so sure... I think the eel guy knows what he's talking about...

-- Anonymous, March 07, 2005

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