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While imagery is most prevalent in “The Masque of the Red Death,” similes and metaphors are also used.
One example of a simile is found on page 6 of the enotes etext, where Death’s mask is described as “corpse-like” and horrifying. When Death’s presence is acknowledged, they note that “he had come like a thief in the night” (6).
An example of a metaphor is when the party room is described as “a strong and lofty wall girdled it in” (4). The walls are compared to a girdle, which is an interesting metaphor because girdles are used by vain people to make themselves look better, and the prince is definitely vain.
Another example of a metaphor is, “but these other apartments were densely crowded, and in them beat feverishly the heart of life” (5). This metaphor also matches the color imagery, and the red and blood imagery used throughout the story.
A simile is a comparison that uses like or as, whereas a metaphor is a comparison that does not use like or as. Furthermore, according to dictionary.com, a metaphor often represents or symbolizes something else, especially something abstract.
Here is an example of a simile that exists in "The Masque of Red Death."
When describing death, "[The Red Death] had come like a thief in the night" (6). This is a comparison that uses the word 'like' to compare death to a thief, and the simile implies that death will steal life from everyone.
Here are some examples of metaphors that exist in "The Masque of Red Death."
"But these other apartments were densely crowded, and in them beat feverishly the heart of life" (4). This metaphor could suggest the desire of the people to hold onto their lives, and could also suggest that those still living were desperately clinging to the last hours of their lives.
"Time that flies" (2) is a metaphor that is used to talk about the ebony clock. This metaphor could represent the inevitability of death since each passing hour serves as a reminder to the masqueraders of their impending death.
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