The conflict of this story is one of character vs. Nature. Prince Prospero, and every one of the courtiers he brings with him to his sequestered abbey, fear death, though death is natural. They take such great pains to protect themselves from the disease afflicting their community, and they "bid defiance to contagion," seeming to believe that wealth and youth and beauty will keep them safe from it. It is an extremely proud position, but we see their fear in the fact that they will not enter the last of the prince's seven rooms, the room of black and "a deep blood color," and in their response to the ebony clock's chimes: "disconcert and tremulousness and meditation [...]" every hour. Ebony, or black, is symbolic of death, the clock is symbolic of mortality, and the blood color of the windows of the room in which the clock sits is symbolic of the particular death which they are attempting to escape. Ultimately, however, neither they nor we can avert death because it is natural. Death, the agent of Nature, triumphs.