How was The Masque of Red Death influenced by Poe's life experiences?
Poe's life as a young man was shrouded in death. Both his mother and his beloved foster mother died from tuberculosis. Then his wife, who was also his young cousin, died at a young age from tuberculosis as well. Poe lost the three most signifcant women in his life to the same horrible disease. He constantly battled depression, debt, poverty, and alcoholism. These experiences led him to write the Masque of the Red Deathto illustrate his own feelings about everyone's inability to escape death no matter how happy or rich someone might be, not one soul will be able to escape the clutches of death.
May I suggest that you check the author's biography on eNotes (the link is given below)? If you read about Poe's life, you'll discover that three women - his mother, his foster mother, and his wife - all died of the same disease, tuberculosis. I'm sure that had to have some kind of effect on this man whose writings deal with tragic losses and death.
This link has the best information on Poe research. Don't use the main page, but go to the links of "articles and reviews" and you should find much that is both reliable and useful.
I've included some other links to critical analysis below.