Friday, September 4, 2009

"The Masque of the Red Death." Edgar Allan Poe.

One-minute review: The vivid imagery of this story cannot be duplicated in a short summary. However, the opening paragraph will give the reader a good sample of it.

“The ‘Red Death’ had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal and so hideous. Blood was its avatar [manifestation] and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains and sudden dizziness and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.” p. 139.

Prince Prospero and a thousand of his friends retreated from the pestilence into seclusion at an abbey. One night, the prince gave a party for his thousand friends and at the stroke of midnight, a masked stranger appeared, throwing a damper on the revelry. When Prince Prospero accosted the stranger, the prince fell dead. When others grasped the stranger’s garments, they grasped the wrappings from the grave. One by one they all fell victims to the Red Death.

Comment: I’ll say this: Poe knows how to tell a story. I’m reminded of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. Of course, Poe said that every word must contribute to the mood of the story and this story is a perfect example of that skill. RayS.

Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Eds. Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1989.

No comments:

Post a Comment