How does Poe create atmosphere and mood in "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Tell-Tale Heart," and "The Raven"?

Poe creates the mood, or emotional atmosphere, of "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Tell-Tale Heart," and "The Raven," through connotation, irony, and symbolism. Darkly connotative words pervade all three, and irony is often created by the text's events or even by the speech of the narrator. This irony increases the reader's feeling of tension. Finally, the symbolism of midnight, which figuratively refers to death, is used in all three texts, making them seem more ominous.

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Poe creates mood, the emotional atmosphere, in these three stories through his word choice, connotation, symbolism, and even irony. Consider the opening of "The Masque of the Red Death": the narrator describes a "fatal" and "hideous" disease marked by "the redness and the horror of blood." This terrifying description is loaded with words that have an incredibly negative connotation, conveying fear and disgust. Within the apparent safety of the castellated abbey, Prince Prospero has created a weirdly incongruent party that the narrator calls "voluptuous" and bizarre. The irony of throwing such a party while a horrifying disease rages outside one's castle walls creates a dark and ominous mood indeed.

In "The Tell-Tale Heart ," the story begins with the narrator's description of himself, and he claims that he can hear "all things in the heaven and in the earth" as well as "many things in hell." He continues, as well, to insist that he is not crazy—over and over—but that his sense of...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 24, 2020