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The Masque of the Red Death

by Edgar Allan Poe
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How does Prince Prospero show his pride?

Prince Prospero demonstrates his pride by thinking that he can outwit death and avoid becoming a victim of the devastating contagion known as the Red Death. In an astonishing show of hubris, Prince Prospero invites a thousand aristocrats to stay in one of his castellated abbeys, which is securely locked to prevent people from entering or leaving. Inside the abbey, Prince Prospero has a massive amount of food and resources to survive for an extended period of time inside the walls of his abbey while the Red Death wreaks havoc upon the countryside and continues to devastate the population.

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Prince Prospero demonstrates his pride by thinking that he can outwit death and avoid becoming a victim of the devastating contagion known as the Red Death. In an astonishing show of hubris, Prince Prospero invites a thousand aristocrats to stay in one of his castellated abbeys, which is securely locked to prevent people from entering or leaving. Inside the abbey, Prince Prospero has a massive amount of food and resources to survive for an extended period of time inside the walls of his abbey while the Red Death wreaks havoc upon the countryside and continues to devastate the population. Prince Prospero not only believes that he can outwit and survive imminent death but also engages in revelries inside his walls as a way to mock death. The prince even holds a masquerade ball, where there are seven colored rooms in his imperial suite, where his bizarre-looking guests dance and drink. When the Red Death enters the masquerade, the prince once again displays his pride by attempting to kill death itself as he brandishes a dagger. However, Prince Prospero becomes a victim of his own hubris and dies at the feet of the Red Death in the seventh room of his imperial suite.

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Prince Prospero shows his pride by believing that he could, with all his money and vast resources, actually escape death.  He retires, with a thousand of his most hearty friends "to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys."  He and his courtiers believe they are safe behind the "lofty wall" that encircles the edifice and its iron gates (which they actually weld shut to make it even more secure).  He believes that there is no way in to the abbey and no way out, that not even death will be able to sneak into his presence from the outside.  His proud insistence that money and status will keep him safe from the plague that is decimating his kingdom, that he can drink and revel away from the world in which everyone else must succumb, seems like the ultimate in hubris: overweening pride.  Prince Prospero feels that he is a man apart, that he can decide to escape death.  In the end, he learns that he is wrong.

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