Describe the Prince's fortification in "The Masque of the Red Death".

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ajmchugh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death," Prince Prospero looks himself, along with a great number of people from his kingdom, in a castle-like structure that he hopes will serve as protection from the Red Death.

The structure, which is sealed shut so that no one can enter or exit, is designed to be the permanent residence for its inhabitants for a period of months.  Designed by Prospero, the castle reflects the Prince's "love of the bizarre":

The apartments were so irregularly disposed that that 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.  To the right and left, in the middle of each wall, a tall and narrow Gothic window looked out upon a closed corridor which purused the windings of the suite.

More interestingly, each "apartment" is themed in a different color, which some critics interpret as representing the different stages of a person's life.  The seventh and final room is "shrouded in black tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls" and has windows that are blood-red in color.  Moreover, this room contains a gigantic ebony clock whose sound makes the castle's inhabitants stop and shudder each time it rings.

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The Masque of the Red Death

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