What is the central conflict in "The Masque of the Red Death"?

The central conflict in "The Masque of the Red Death" is man vs. nature. Prince Prospero believes that he and his friends can escape the natural process of dying, but they face the Red Death directly when death shows up at their masquerade ball.

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The central conflict in "Masque of the Red Death" is man vs. nature. Prince Prospero, who is "happy and dauntless and sagacious," tries to escape the natural process of death by sequestering a thousand friends to his castle and hiding from the contagion which sweeps through the kingdom. This death is a particularly gruesome one, causing sharp pains and a profuse bleeding from the pores of the body and ending the life of its victim within a half hour. Prince Prospero seems to believe that he can spare himself from this Red Death (capitalized in the story to personify its ability to seek out its victims) because he and his friends are rich and beautiful. This pride is a character flaw.

After five or six months of hiding from the Red Death, Prince Prospero decides to throw a masquerade for his thousand friends. The party is arranged through a series of rooms, each featuring a lively décor—except the final room. In this last room, the windows are blood red, and black velvet tapestries...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 796 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on October 30, 2020