The Masque of the Red Death Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

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How does Poe's life relate to the story "The Masque of the Red Death"?

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In Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Masque of the Red Death,” try though he might, Prince Prospero cannot hide from death. This relates to Poe's own life: death found Poe's loved ones repeatedly when he was just a young boy.

Death finds Prince Prospero and all of his privileged friends. The story opens with, “The red death had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous.”

Despite all this, “Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious.” He walls himself, with his inner circle in:

deep seclusion of one of his crenellated abbeys…This wall had gates of iron [to keep death out]. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts.

However, Prince Prospero and his friends cannot keep death out. Death arrives at the masked ball wearing a disguise. Prospero is infuriated and demands, “Who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery? Seize him and unmask him — that we may know whom we have to hang at...

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