What are the symptoms of the disease called the Red Death in "The Masque of the Red Death"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Red Death is a plague, a pestilence that is quickly fatal, and its symptoms "so hideous." There are severe pains, stunning dizziness, and profuse bleeding through the pores, and then a brutal death. Symptomatic of this plague are redness and "the horror of blood." These scarlet stains cover the body and so frighten and repulse people that they flee the victims. Most devastating is the fact that the time from the appearance of the scarlet stains until death is only a matter of thirty minutes.  

After this plague has decimated the population of the kingdom of Prince Prospero, he summons his knights and friends and members of his court and devises a plan to protect them from the Red Death: He takes them to his "castellated abbey" where there are lofty walls with gates of iron that surround this fortress. There the prince hopes that they "might bid defiance to the contagion." The guests engage in a masquerade; however, the Red Death itself enters later as a masked interloper.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As was mentioned in the previous post, the Red Death is a fatal pestilence that has decimated half of the population in Poe's short story. Individuals who contract the Red Death suffer sharp pains and begin to experience dizziness before blood starts to leak through their pores profusely. The victim's entire body, including their face, turns red with blood before they begin to seize. Once a person contracts the disease, the symptoms will last for a half an hour before they suddenly die. Prince Prospero and his wealthy, upper-class friends lock themselves inside of his abbey to avoid the contagion. Inside of Prince Prospero's abbey, the people revel while the rest of the countryside is experiencing the horrors of the plague. At the end of the story, Prince Prospero and his friends cannot cheat death and die from the plague inside the abbey. 

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The Masque of the Red Death

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