Compare the mood outside the abbey with the mood inside it in "The Masque of the Red Death."
The Red Death is a deadly disease for which there is no cure. It cannot be avoided and eventually it will kill everyone because there is no cure. The citizens outside of Prince Proospero's castle are full of grief and echo the sounds of hopelessness, despair and futility. They are mourning the loss of men, women and children and their cries are echoed throughout the streets filled with pain and anguish.
Inside the abbey, Prince Prospero has chosen to celebrate their freedom from the disease by throwing a massive masquerade party for 1000 of his followers. Prince Prospero feels that they are safe from the plague and by fortifying the castle they will prevent their own demise. The Prince thinks that he can beat the hands of time, but the clock strikes and echoes the closeness of their impending death and reminds them that death is an inevitable conclusion to the party. Maybe Death had his own feeling of revenge for those that ignore the cries of their own people.
The mood outside the abbey is one of unrelieved darkness. There is fear of the plague, sadness over those who have died, and despair over all the suffering.
Inside the abbey, " But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious," and so he invites his healthy and "light-hearted friends" to be with him. They are, at the start of the story, happy and somewhat superior; they are healthy when those outside are dying.
However, later in the story, the prince becomes anxious due the masked intruder (the red death), and eventually he is as scared as those outside, until despair fills his party too.