What is the Red Death and how did it get its name?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Red Death is a terrible, deadly disease that has devastated the country ruled by Prince Prospero. In fact, the narrator tells us, no disease has ever been as deadly or awful as this one. It is called the Red Death because the victims of this disease begin to bleed from all their pores, in addition to the dizziness and sharp pains they experience. The diseased can easily be identified by the red stains all over their bodies, especially on their faces. These individuals, once spotted, immediately become shut out from the aid and sympathy of all their fellows and even their friends because the disease is so contagious. Further, the disease is so deadly and moves so quickly that the whole progression from contraction to the victim's death takes only thirty minutes.

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The Masque of the Red Death

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