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The Masque of the Red Death

by Edgar Allan Poe

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Describe the seventh room in "The Masque of the Red Death."

The seventh room in "The Masque of the Red Death" symbolically represents death and is decorated in black tapestries, which hang from the ceiling to the floor. Unlike the other rooms in the imperial suite, the window panes do not match the color of the room. The window panes in the seventh room are scarlet and resemble dark blood. There is also an ebony clock located on the western wall of the room, reminding the guests of their mortality.

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The seventh room of Prospero's imperial suite is by far the most unsettling and disturbing room inside his castellated abbey, which is where the prince and his close friends die at the feet of the Red Death. It is important to note that the rooms are positioned from east to west and allegorically represent the setting of the sun as well as various stages of life. The seventh room is the most western room in the suite and symbolizes the setting of the sun, which corresponds to the ending of a person's life. During the masquerade, Prospero's guests refuse to enter the seventh room, which is decorated with long black tapestries and tinted window panes that are the same color as blood.

Poe also describes the seventh room as having sable drapery and carpet, which offsets the black tapestries and enhances the vivid color of the blood-tinted window panes. This color combination is sinister, reminiscent of the Red Death, and contributes to the eerie atmosphere of the room. There is also a tall ebony clock in the seventh room. The resounding toll of the clock upon each hour is reminiscent of a death knell, and the masqueraders stop dancing each time the clock strikes. The large ebony clock symbolically represents the preeminence of time, and the seventh room symbolizes death and decay. Once the Red Death infiltrates Prospero's abbey, he travels towards the seventh room, and the prince follows him there. The story ends at midnight, when Prospero and his guests die at the hands of the Red Death.

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In Poe's celebrated short story "The Masque of the Red Death," Prince Prospero holds a magnificent, bizarre masquerade in his spacious imperial suite as the deadly pestilence known as the Red Death ravages the surrounding countryside. Prince Prospero instructs his guest to wear grotesque, exotic attire to the ball and elaborately decorates his imperial suite. Each of the seven rooms of the imperial suite is decorated in a different color and symbolically represents a specific stage of human life. For example, the first, most eastern room is completely decorated in blue, which symbolically represents birth.

The seventh, most western room of the imperial suite symbolically represents death and is shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hang from the high ceiling to the dark floor. In addition to the black tapestries and floor, the window panes are scarlet and resemble the deep color of blood. These window panes remind the guests of the deadly plague that they are attempting to avoid. The reflection of light emanating from the exterior fire makes the room appear more "ghastly in the extreme" and produces a "wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered." There is also a gigantic ebony clock standing at the western wall of the chamber, which dulls a monotonous clang every hour, reminding the revelers that their time on earth is limited and death is inevitable.

Throughout the ball, the revelers purposely avoid this ominous, frightful room and...

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prefer not to think about their own mortality. Each hour, the masqueraders shudder at the sound of the ebony clock, and the music briefly stops. At midnight, thepersonification of the Red Death enters the abbey and slowly walks towards the seventh room, where the prince and all his guests die in its presence.

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Prince Prospero's decorations for his ball were quite unusual.  “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe refers to this party. A masque is a masquerade party where the guests are to keep their faces and identities a secret. Not only were the costumes bizarre, but the atmosphere had a grotesque appearance. The party included seven rooms, each with a different color scheme.

The only different one was the most western or farthest room which was black and dark except for some tall lights which faced the windows and gave the room an eerie quality.  To add to this surreal atmosphere, the windows were blood red in color.

 But in the western or black chamber, the effect of the fire-light that streamed upon the dark hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all.

In one part of the black room is a tall, ebony clock. The clock’s pendulum produced a heavy clang; but when it tolled the hour, everything stopped. No music, no dancing, no laughter—the clock moved the story closer to the midnight hour, which symbolically represents the ending of a day or even a life. When the clock stopped chiming, the party began again. For Prospero and his guests, the clock symbolized the loss of time and the movement toward death.

The seventh room houses the climax of the story. It is in the black room that Prospero challenges the Red Death, and he obviously loses.

The room itself along with the clock represents the idea that no one, whether he is rich or poor, can hide from death. The illustrious party could not keep death from finding its way inside. ”Death has dominion over everything and everyone.” Death comes to us all.   

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In "The Masque of the Red Death," describe the black room.

Although each of the first six rooms is draped in the same color that appears upon the windows, the walls of the final room are hung with "black velvet tapestries," and the room has window panes of "scarlet—a deep blood color." Just outside the room is a tripod lit with fire so that it projects its light through the blood-colored windows. The narrator calls the effect, in this particular room, "ghastly in the extreme," so much so that few revelers are actually willing to enter the room at all. The carpets are sable, like the walls, and there is a large clock of ebony that chimes every sixty minutes. Whenever it tolls the hour, all the party-goers become paralyzed and feel compelled to stop dancing and listen; perhaps it reminds them of those people outside the abbey who have perished of the fatal Red Death within the last hour, or perhaps it reminds them that they, too, must some day die, that they cannot escape mortality.

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