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Why does Prince Prospero seal himself and his guests in the abbey in "The Masque...

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carolina16 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 6, 2010 at 9:23 AM via web

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Why does Prince Prospero seal himself and his guests in the abbey in "The Masque of the Red Death"?

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 6, 2010 at 11:15 AM (Answer #1)

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Prince Prospero sealed himself and his guests in the abbey for more than just one reason, when you really read about it.

The obvious reason is, of course, escaping the Red death. This disease was supposedly ravaging the town and Prince Prospero had the opportunity (due to his rank and position) to localize the disease and move away from it.

The second reason, however, is because he wants to flaunt precisely the fact that he thinks that he is in control, and he invites his courtiers sort of to re-establish his invincible position, entertain them, and show them how much money can actually buy.

Third, he wants to use this escape as an excuse for non-stop irresponsible behavior. While the Red death loomed, people had to be careful not to become sick. Now that the courtiers were away, they felt safe enough to want to tempt fate. They were feasting, and celebrating being better than everyone else.

Yet, when the Red death showed up IN the abbey and surprises everyone, the real weakness of human reality exposes itself.

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