I need to know characterization on Prince Prospero

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I really need to know the characterization of Prince Prospero in The Masque of the Red Death!!! PLease help me!!!

-- Anonymous, April 27, 2003


Sort of the antithesis to the Shakespearian charatcer in "The Tempest", a crudely arrogant and proud nobleman of the type usually appearing villainous in Poe: "Metzengerstein" "The Cask of Amontillado" "Hop Frog". Maybe it was an American prejudice against tyranny and decadence or Poe's antipathy to upper class authority in general.

See Shakespeare's civilized yet vengeful magician and his "guests" trapped on his island. Prospero torments them as well as provides a fantastic safe world. Poe's Prospero is more savage and arrogant and IS NOT ultimately in control. In fact he has built a last room and mortality timepiece(the chime clock) to symbolize the last word of death. When it arrives he confronts it as an insult, but dies. Like "The Imp of the Perverse" he has merely orchestrated his own doom while ostensibly trying to do the opposite. The vain rebellion of art is defeated by the "magic" of the Red Death. As in comparing Shakespeare's "life is a stage" with "The Conqueror Worm" Poe is less philosophical than fatalistic, drowning in his art not protected by it or controlling it.

-- Anonymous, April 28, 2003

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