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How does "The Masque of the Red Death" potray aspects of violent tendencies?

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anesc | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 18, 2011 at 5:35 AM via web

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How does "The Masque of the Red Death" potray aspects of violent tendencies?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 20, 2011 at 4:30 AM (Answer #1)

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You may not usually associate violence with illness, but the Red Death is a particularly violent illness.  There are “sharp pains,” “scarlet stains,” “profuse bleeding at the pores,” and the whole thing only takes a half an hour!

The actual violence in the story comes from Prince Prospero.  When Death shows up at his party, he is angry and violent.

“Who dares?” he demanded hoarsely of the courtiers who stood near him—“who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery? Seize him and unmask him—that we may know whom we have to hang at sunrise, from the battlements!”

He wants to hang the visitor, without even knowing who it is, because he is offended by his death-mask.  He then tries to attack the visitor with a dagger.  Then they realize he is Death and one by one “each died each in the despairing posture of his fall.”

Thus, an entire room full of people die at the party.  Even though the illness is what takes them, it is still a violent and repulsive death.

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algorithm97 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted October 24, 2011 at 10:26 AM (Answer #2)

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The Red Death is not portraying Violence, but Death and Evil itself. It is a symbol of Satan. However there is one part that can be portrayed as violent and that is the statement "In truth the masqueradelicense of the night was nearly unlimited; but the figure in question hah out-Heroded Herod, which is to be worse than the Evilest of all tyrants, The biblical King Herod, who had thousands of infants slaughtered in an attempt to kill jesus

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