What is the masquerade like in "The Masque of the Red Death"?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The masquerade is voluptuous.  It takes place in seven rooms, which are colored and furnished to represent the seven deadly sins.  Prince Prospero has locked himself and his courtiers inside the castle while the plague kills his people outside.

The apartments were so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time. There was a sharp turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect. (enotes etext pdf p. 4)

The rooms are described as haphazard because of the hosts love for the bizarre.  One room is furnished with an ebony clock that represents death’s approach.  The rooms are different colors including green, purple, orange, white, and of course black.

The guests don’t seem to notice the creepiness of the rooms.  There is much “glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm” (p. 5) and “the masquerade license of the night was nearly unlimited” (p. 8).  Of course, Death shows up in the middle of this extravagant party, and the party’s over.


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