Why might some people think that the prince is mad in "The Masque of the Red Death"?

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Prince Prospero is depicted as a bold, arrogant ruler who selfishly barricades himself and a thousand of his closest aristocratic friends inside his castellated abbey while the pestilence known as the Red Death wreaks havoc on the surrounding countryside. During the fifth or sixth month of their seclusion, Prince Prospero...

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Prince Prospero is depicted as a bold, arrogant ruler who selfishly barricades himself and a thousand of his closest aristocratic friends inside his castellated abbey while the pestilence known as the Red Death wreaks havoc on the surrounding countryside. During the fifth or sixth month of their seclusion, Prince Prospero decides to hold an unusual masquerade in his seven-room imperial suite to entertain his guests. Poe proceeds to describe Prospero's affinity for the bizarre and grotesque as the prince specifically decorates each of the seven rooms in different colors, which symbolically represent the seven stages of life.

The atmosphere of Prince Prospero's masquerade is described as being gaudy, fantastic, and disturbing. The magnificent colors and effects of the rooms significantly contribute to the mood of the environment, which reflects Prospero's peculiar taste. Poe writes that the prince's conceptions "glowed with barbaric lustre," and some of his subjects thought that he was mad. Prospero gave specific instructions for his guests to appear grotesque and whimsical as they frequented the mysterious rooms during the masquerade.

The strange atmosphere of the ball and the unusual attire of the guests contribute to Prospero's reputation as a madman. Poe proceeds to describe the masquerade by writing,

There were much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust. (6)

Overall, Prince Prospero's taste for the wanton, bizarre, and grotesque, which are on display during his unique masquerade, are the primary reasons some people view him as a madman.

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