illustration of a clockface wearing a mask and ticking closer to midnight

The Masque of the Red Death

by Edgar Allan Poe

Start Free Trial

How was the narrative misleading in "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe? I am trying to combine how the narrative contributed to the imagery portion of the "The Masque of the Red Death."

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The descriptions revolving around the masked ball (and those present at it) are the main way in which Poe's great story misleads. When Prince Prospero sees the figure "disguised" with the marks of the Red Death (the plague), he assumes it is a particular daring guest, and challenges the person. He pursues him, and the impression is that the figure has a physical form; that's how the story sounds. However, when Prospero catches him, there's nobody (and no body) inside. It's just the Red Death. This symbolizes the presence of the plague nicely…but what happened on the literal level? Was the prince hallucinating? Was there a spirit of death? Etc.


See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team