The Masque of the Red Death Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

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What mood does Poe evoke in "The Masque of the Red Death"?

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Poe establishes the mood from the opening paragraph with a description of the death itself. It is "fatal" and "hideous." It causes a "profuse bleeding at the pores" and kills victims within a half hour.

In the midst of this fatal contagion, Prince Prospero decides to host a thousand friends in a revelry to defy the furious "pestilence." This sense of whimsy is juxtaposed against the imagery of the party. The Prince loves the "bizarre." The rooms are "irregularly disposed." And in the seventh apartment, the walls are decorated in black velvet, and this room's windows are the only ones which do not match the color scheme of the room; instead of black, they are a "deep blood red." The imagery of the party is not light and festive but instead dark and ominous.

Even the clock, symbolic of the passing of time, is described as "dull, heavy, [and] monotonous." When it chimes, the party-goers grow "pale," the characterization again contributing to the sense of grim foreboding.

Through symbolism,...

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"the figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. The mask was made to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse. And yet all this might have been endured by the mad reveler. But the mummer has gone so far as to assume the type of the red death. His virtue was dabbed in blood-and his broad brow was be sprinkled with the scarlet horror. When the eyes of prince prospero fell upon the spectral image, his brow reddened with rage." Explain how this scene conveys the mood of the story? Use text evidence to support your answer .