What does the Prince hope to do by locking himself in the castle in "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe? Why would also he have the doors barred from the outside? Beyond physical safety, what is Prince Prospero attempting to do by leaving everything but merriment outside?

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The Prince is attempting to keep himself and his guests in denial. His kingdom is dying off from the Red Death. He wants to make sure no one can get in and infect his castle, and he also wants to make sure no one can leave.

Prince Prospero is described...

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The Prince is attempting to keep himself and his guests in denial. His kingdom is dying off from the Red Death. He wants to make sure no one can get in and infect his castle, and he also wants to make sure no one can leave.

Prince Prospero is described as “dauntless,” meaning he is not intimidated by anything. The fact that he is not intimidated by the plague demonstrates this. Unfortunately, instead of trying to help his people or find a cure, he builds himself an impenetrable castle and holes himself up inside it with a thousand of his closest friends.

When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince's own eccentric yet august taste.

The prince is avoiding reality. He is not just trying to make sure that death can’t get in; he is also trying to avoid facing his responsibilities. None of his people can leave, either. They are all going to stay, party, and pretend time stopped.

The party and masquerade are an example of the Prince’s insane desire to evade reality.

It was a voluptuous scene, that masquerade. But first let me tell of the rooms in which it was held. There were seven—an imperial suite. . . Here the case was very different; as might have been expected from the duke's love of the bizarre.

The prince and his courtiers can't keep pretending nothing has happened outside, and they can’t go outside because that will destroy the illusion. As a result, they barricade themselves inside and seal off the walls.

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