need help with questions for 'The Masque of the Red Death' : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Why do Prince Prospero and his followers retreat to his palace? Why does the clock have such a dramatic effect on the dancers? Why does the masked visitor frighten the guests so? What mood or effect is created by the colors and the lighting in the rooms of the ball? What do you learn about Prince Prospero from his desire to keep his household free of plague? How is the party disrupted?

-- Anonymous, February 09, 2003


The clue to all answers is in careful thought about the first question. They retreat to escape from the inescapable. Everything is a show of walling away reality and inclosing fantasy, yet the reality and fantasy are not hidden. Inside the palace and Prospero's revolt of bravado, all the symbols of time and death are represented, culminating in the regular chime of the clock in the last room. For someone trying to put things away or out of mind this is curious inclusion. More like the "Imp of the Perverse" at work during this temporary revolt, so it is just inevitable that the final hour chiming should greet the final guest they did not want in. One big mad denial and refusal to accept death ends as it must and as the colors and clock subconsciously admit.

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2003

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