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Prince Prospero's decorations for his ball were quite unusual. “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe refers to this party. A masque is a masquerade party where the guests are to keep their faces and identities a secret. Not only were the costumes bizarre, but the atmosphere had a grotesque appearance. The party included seven rooms, each with a different color scheme.
The only different one was the most western or farthest room which was black and dark except for some tall lights which faced the windows and gave the room an eerie quality. To add to this surreal atmosphere, the windows were blood red in color.
But in the western or black chamber, the effect of the fire-light that streamed upon the dark hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all.
In one part of the black room is a tall, ebony clock. The clock’s pendulum produced a heavy clang; but when it tolled the hour, everything stopped. No music, no dancing, no laughter—the clock moved the story closer to the midnight hour, which symbolically represents the ending of a day or even a life. When the clock stopped chiming, the party began again. For Prospero and his guests, the clock symbolized the loss of time and the movement toward death.
The seventh room houses the climax of the story. It is in the black room that Prospero challenges the Red Death, and he obviously loses.
The room itself along with the clock represents the idea that no one, whether he is rich or poor, can hide from death. The illustrious party could not keep death from finding its way inside. ”Death has dominion over everything and everyone.” Death comes to us all.
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