How did Poe's life influence "The Masque of the Red Death'? : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I have a project on Edgar Allan Poe, and I need to know how Poe's personal life influenced his story, "The Masque of the Red Death." The problem is, there has to be specific examples that directly tie to this story. I also need facts that aren't very common, as I already know that he was a drinker and the like. Sites will also help. Any answers will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

-- Anonymous, September 24, 2003


I'm in a hurry but for starters the Red death itself may relate to Poe's mother and others who died from tuberculosis. In "Hop Frog" and "Usher" the womanis stained with red(wine, blood) as if marked by that illness. Virginia Poe that year also suffered her first hemmorrhage from the fatal illness, on measured by a slow and certain decline. As in "The Pit and the Pendulum" of that same year Poe had the claustrophobic images of architecture and the futile struggle against time to contend with.

Poe, like Propsero(emphasize "like")is creating an artworld retreat from the beseiging death that contains still in the black room the clock measuring out doom. Denial of death through art, architecture and music progressing through compartments to stave off death. Like prospero, Poe liked to be in charge, but failed. he is not Propsero the noble in direct comparison for the simple reason Poe, perhaps as an American estranged as well from his stepfather, hated those types of authority figures, embracing not so much the liberal philosophy as the natural attitude of someone like William Godwin("Caleb Williams").

One of those stories where the protaginist is not sympathetic, not even the narrator, though he embodies some of Poe's pride and rebellion, so the dark tragedy is unrelieved by any redemptive qualities. One of the few allegorical and supernatural instances in Poe's work and such limits are ordinarily colored symbolically suggestively and in silence- the antithesis to the verbal arts that were Poe's life.

-- Anonymous, September 25, 2003

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