What is the conflict of the story?
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The main problem in the story is the plague (or red death) that is around. In order to protect against that plague, the Prince sequesters a thousand of his most loyal followers in his castle. The main conflict in the story is between those inside, and red death itself. They try to keep it out, and Red Death tries to work its way in.
Both the internal and external conflicts of story pit the individual against death. This is an internal conflict because the story depicts the protagonist, Prospero, as fearing death. People naturally have a desire to live, so that they often must struggle with the inevitable fact that they must die. However, this fear of death also becomes an external conflict for Prospero because Poe personifies death, making it a Masked Figure that leads Prospero into the innermost chamber, faces him, so that he dies. Note that Red Death is capitalized throughout the story, which indicates that it has the attributes of a person with intentions and motivations. Enotes has an excellent discussion on this story as an allegory whereby each objects and characters symbolize ideas in such a way that the entire story can be read literally or figuratively, the latter reading providing the more significant meaning.
The major conflict is man vs. fate.
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