In "The Masque of the Red Death" what did the colors of the rooms mean?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The rooms can have several different meanings, with most being the archetypal symbols of the colors. For example, the blue room can represent tranquility and peace, while the green room can represent envy or life. The way the rooms are arranged is the important point, with the start of the chambers begin in the east, & the end being in the west. This represents the flow of life, & the movement from birth to death. Thus, each room can symbolize a stage of life, or a particular emotion felt at each point.

The one room with definite meaning is the final one. This room, with its scarlet panes seeming to bleed over the ebony tapestries, is clearly the room of death. The clock within represents the ticking of the final moments of life, and the revelers are uncomfortable in the black room, preferring the more "lively" colors. The fact that all the partygoers, and Prince Prospero himself eventually die within that room is not coincidence. It's a not-so-subtle reminder that no one can cheat or escape Death.

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The Masque of the Red Death

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