What are the possible lessons or ideas at the end of the story?"The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In contraction to the import of John Donne's famous lines "Death be not proud...Death, thou shalt die," Death is, indeed, the victor in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" and, as the narrator, this Red Death is very proud. For, he boasts in the last paragraph of the story--it must be Death who boasts as everyone else is dead--that his presence prevails over all,

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 his fall....And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.

Certainly, Prince Prospero realized that despite all his wealth, despite the "voluptuous scene" in the extensive and "magnificent structure with its gates of iron and ramparts, despite the assembly of "phantasms" and masked guests of the highest order, the Red Death stole into the "castellated abbeys" and spread death to all. For, in the end, no one can cheat death. 

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The Masque of the Red Death

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