The prince provides many pleasures for his privileged courtiers, who believe they are living in safety within the walls of his castle while the Red Death ravages the people outside.
The prince, Prospero, stocks the castle with ample amounts of food and wine. He provides buffoons (clowns), ballet dancers, musicians, beautiful objects, and dance. Rooms are done in different vivid color schemes and hung with rich draperies in those colors.
When all the guests have been there five or six months, the prince provides a magnificent masked ball. For the ball, he emphasizes bizarre and fantastic effects, so that objects glitter and glare and seem fantastic and dreamlike. A great ebony clock interrupts the dancing during the ball by chiming the hour so loudly the dancers and musicians all have to stop and wait for it to finish. We learn that:
There were arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and appointments. There were delirious fancies such as the madman fashions. There were much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust. To and fro in the seven chambers there stalked, in fact, a multitude of dreams.