What is the mood of "The Masque of the Red Death"?I need to find a passage that best fits it.

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would actually go for the very last paragraph of the story, which, to my mind, makes explicit what has been implicit throughout the tale. The story has been a putting off of the inevitable, as Prince Prospero has tried to "cheat" the Red Death by locking himself and his courtiers away and sealing themselves off from the rest of the Kingdom. Yet if we take the Red Death as a symbol of death itself, we realise how futile this is. The last paragraph shows the puncturing of this particular dream as all the guests and courtiers have to face the harsh reality of death:

And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revelers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of their fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.

This sums up the mood of grim despair and the certainty of the victory of death against all - no matter how wealthy, powerful or important. Note how the repetition of sentences beginning with "And" strengthens the sense of inevitability and the powerful might of death against all who try to resist it. A grim end indeed....

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The Masque of the Red Death

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