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Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death". About the Author Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston. After being orphaned at age.

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Presentation on theme: "Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death". About the Author Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston. After being orphaned at age."— Presentation transcript:

1 Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death"

2 About the Author Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston. After being orphaned at age two, he was taken into the home of a childless couple– John Allan, a successful businessman in Richmond, Va., and his wife. Allan was believed to be Poe’s godfather. At age six, Poe went to England with the Allans and was enrolled in schools there. After he returned with the Allans to the U.S. in 1820, he studied at private schools, then attended the University of Virginia and the U.S. Military Academy, but did not complete studies at either school. After beginning his literary career as a poet and prose writer, he married his young cousin, Virginia Clemm. He worked for several magazines and joined the staff of the New York Mirror newspaper in 1844. All the while, he was battling a drinking problem. After the Mirror published his poem “The Raven” in January 1845, Poe achieved national and international fame. Besides pioneering the development of the short story, Poe invented the format for the detective story as we know it today. He also was an outstanding literary critic. Despite the acclaim he received, he was never really happy because of his drinking and because of the deaths of several people close to him, including his wife in 1847. He frequently had trouble paying his debts. It is believed that heavy drinking was a contributing cause of his death in Baltimore on October 7, 1849.

3 Plot Summary...A terrifying disease called the Red Death ravages the kingdom of Prince Prospero. So deadly is it that it kills within a half-hour after the start of its symptoms: sharp pain, dizziness, and bleeding from the pores........However, the prince is safe and happy in an abbey to which he has gone with a thousand knights and ladies selected from his court. The abbey, which resembles a great castle, is surrounded by a sturdy wall. Its iron gate has been welded shut, making it impossible for anyone to enter or leave........Inside, the prince has stocked much food and drink and keeps companies of musicians, dancers, and clowns for his entertainment. After about six months, while the disease was taking its toll outside in his kingdom, the prince decides to hold a masked ball in the abbey.

4 Setting Setting The action takes place in the castle-like abbey of a prince who rules a kingdom in an age of castles and knights. Poe does not name the country, but he uses words suggesting the country of Italy.

5 Characters Prince Prospero: Selfish, wealthy ruler who withdraws to a castle-like abbey to avoid an epidemic of a deadly disease. Knights and Ladies: Members of the court whom the prince has invited to the abbey. There are one thousand of them in all. Entertainers, Musicians, Dancers: They amuse the prince and his guests. Uninvited Masquerader: Intruder dressed like the corpse of a victim of the red death

6 Type of Work and Year of Publication "The Masque of the Red Death" is a short story in the Gothic horror genre. It was published in 1842 in Graham’s Magazine. Gothic Gothic horror stories focus on dark, mysterious, and terrifying events.

7 Meaning of Masque In Renaissance Europe, a masque was an elaborate party with guests wearing costumes and masks. They sang, danced, recited poetry, and sometimes acted in a play. A masque could also consist only of a procession or pageant of costumed persons–or simply the kind of costume ball staged by Prince Prospero in “The Masque of the Red Death.” Of course, in Poe’s story, masque not only refers to Prospero’s ball but also to the disguise (mask) of the Red Death.


9 The Red Death The Red Death is like a real disease that occurred in Medieval and Renaissance Europe–septicemic plague. Within hours after infecting a person, this deadliest form of plague caused high fever and turned the skin purple. A victim of septicemic plague sometimes got up in the morning healthy, without an ache or a pain, and went to bed in a grave. Plague was spread from rats to humans by fleas. Septicemic plague, poisoned the bloodstream. Europe suffered from three different plagues. Together these three kinds of plague were known as the Black Death. It is thought that 25 million people died during the Back Death. This was about 50% of the population of Europe at the time.

10 Themes in “The Masque of the Red Death (1) No man or woman can escape death. (2) Members of a community–especially the leaders–have a duty to help those in need


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