In The Masque of the Red Death, what is meant by the line "they were arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and appointments" ? Trying to figure out how Poe used arabesque and grotesque in his...

In The Masque of the Red Death, what is meant by the line "they were arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and appointments" ?

Trying to figure out how Poe used arabesque and grotesque in his stories.

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here Poe is referring to the nobles who are described in contradictory terms. When one hears the word "arabesque," one thinks of the fluid and sensuous lines of a ballet dancer. But these figures are distorted. They have "unsuited limbs and appointments." In paragraph seven, Poe also calls these people "grotesque," "bizarre" and "terrible." The effect for the reader is to feel the full hideousness of their being.

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The Masque of the Red Death

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