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Prince Prospero’s response to the plague is to have a big party for the wealthy in his kingdom, locking the poor suffering subjects out.
In order to distract them from the death and suffering outside their walls, the prince provides his guests with "all the appliances of pleasure,’’ and holds a masquerade ball after the fifth or sixth month. (enotes characters, third link)
The prince is “happy and dauntless and sagacious” (enotes pdf p. 4). He does not care what is going on in the kingdom. He is not sick, and as long as he can lock himself into his luxurious palace, his "extensive and magnificent structure” (p. 4), he is fine. He spends his time and money on decadent parties instead of helping his people.
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. (p. 4)
The prince clearly saw the writing on the wall, and decided to protect himself and his friends and leave his people to die.
Quotes from: http://www.enotes.com/masque-red-death-text
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