Concerning The Masque of the Red Death, why does Poe lack intellectual substance in his artistry?Why is the word "mummer" used three times?

Expert Answers
Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hmmmm, I totally disagree that "Poe lacks intellectual substance in his artistry."  One need only look at eNotes "Essays and Criticism" section to make this determination.  (Please see my reference link.)  Part of Poe's artistry is his adherence to his concept of "single effect," which basically means that every word, every concept, every scene, every part of the plot, and every aspect of setting must lead to one end (and for Poe that end is horror).  If Poe used the word "mummer" three times, I would suggest it is because there was no other word that would lead to his single effect in that instance.  What is important to remember as well is that, according to literary criticism, it isn't necessary for a reader to "like" something that is considered good literature.  That reader simply has to appreciate that that piece of literature is, in fact, "good."  One need not like it.  Perhaps you don't "like" Poe?  Obviously, a great writer doesn't go down into the literary textbooks if he or she isn't spectacular, right?  Then again, some people say the same thing (in regards to intellectual substance in artistry) about Jane Austen. . . .

Read the study guide:
The Masque of the Red Death

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question