The Masque of the Red Death Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

The Masque of the Red Death book cover
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Why do you suppose the rooms are arranged at angles rather than straight?

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This is a very interesting question. We learn in the story that

The apartments were so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time. There was a sharp turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect.

The narrator attributes this strange room arrangement to the duke's "love of the bizarre," but we might want to dig a little deeper.

The guests who are locked into the castle, thinking that this way they can keep themselves safe from the Red Death, don't want to see too far into the future. It is easier for them to put on blinders and pretend everything is all right than to peer at what is to come.

The sharp angles at which the rooms are turned symbolize the willful and desired short-sightedness of the duke and his guests. In their heart of hearts, they know full well that it is only a matter of time before the Red Death gets them too, but they would rather not face this fact, just as the duke would rather they not see into the next room.

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