Homework Help

In "The Masque of the Red Death," what does the abbey's seventh (red) chamber represent...

user profile pic

rosee-aborn | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 5, 2011 at 10:56 AM via web

dislike 3 like

In "The Masque of the Red Death," what does the abbey's seventh (red) chamber represent in an allegorical reading of the story?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 5, 2011 at 7:42 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 3 like

It is key to realise that each of the seven chambers and the way that they are positioned running from east to west, to correspond with the rising and setting of the sun, allegorically suggests the different stages of man's life as he is born and starts his inexorable trek towards death. Let us consider how the final seventh chamber is described so we can establish its allegorical significance:

The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this chamber only, the colour of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet--a deep blood colour.

Also important to consider when trying to work out the allegorical significance of this room is what happens here. Let us remember that the guest disguised as the Red Death walks through all of teh chambers before finally confronting the enraged Prince Prospero in this seventh chamber, where the arrival of the Red Death is discovered and greeted with intense dismay. The combination of the black of the trappings of this room and the red of the windows strongly points us towards this seventh room allegorically representing death, and death at the hands of the Red Death.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes