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Prince Prospero is trying to escape a deadly plague that is running rampant through his country. Anyone who becomes infected with the "red death" begins to bleed from all pores and dies within thirty minutes. Prospero gathers one thousand of his people, and they seal themselves in the abbey to wait for the plague to be over. His name, "Prospero", is ironic because he does not prosper by locking himself away; no one can escape death.
The Prince's land has been struck by a fatal plague, a disease that spreads quickly and kills quickly. It is called the "red death" because of the blood stains it leaves upon its victims. Prospero has gathered himself and his followers into the abbey to protect them all from being affected by the plague. It is a self-inflicted quarantine.
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In the story, the "Red Death" is fatal, almost instantly. The Prince practices the oldest skill in the humans arsonal, self preservation.
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