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The prince’s solution is to gather up all of his friends and have a big party.
Prince Prospero is in trouble. There is a terrible plague ravishing his kingdom. It kills quickly, often within thirty minutes. By the time half of his people are dead, the prince decides to take action against the Red Death. He throws a party for a thousand of his closest friends.
It was toward the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence.
The prince locks himself and his courtiers inside his castle, and they all party. They have celebrations of such splendor that everyone forgets about the horrible events occurring outside the walls. The prince is so greedy and self-centered that he does nothing to try to save his people. He just saves his friends.
Poe’s story of the embodiment of Death taking revenge on the greedy strikes a chord with modern readers just as it did when it was published. Our leaders should protect us, lead by example, and sacrifice anything they can to help us. When they don’t, they often get what they deserve.
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