The Masque of the Red Death Lesson Plans
by Edgar Allan Poe

The Masque of the Red Death book cover
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Teacher guide for "The Masque of the Red Death"

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Colors of the rooms symbolize:

  • Blue- sky, water, sadness, depression
  • Purple- Royalty, wealth
  • Green- Nature, money, life
  • Orange- Sun, fire
  • White- Purity, Innocence, Peace, Cleanliness
  • Violet- See Purple
  • Black- Death, Decay, Evil, Darkness
  • Clock as a symbol- Coming death, Fate, Time passing

Masqueraders (people at the party)

  • Grotesque (gross, nasty, disgusting)
  • Piquancy - In your face, but in a good way
  • Arabesque - Elaborate, fancy, imposing
  • Hue- color. In this case, the “dreams” (thoughts of the partiers) are affected or formed by which room they’re in.
  • Cessation- stopping (when you cease, you stop)
  • Disapprobation- disapproval
  • Habiliments- clothing

The masked figure of the Red Death

  • Bloody
  • Scariest party-goer
  • Scares the others, also offends them
  • Breaking social rules by dressing the way he did
  • It is ironic that death is found among the partiers because parties are supposed to be happy events. Also, this party was designed especially to mock death. It was created to laugh at the disease outside.
  • POV is the perspective from which the story is told. There are 3 kinds of POV/narrator
  • 1st person- “I” The narrator is part of the story. This is limited to what that person knows, or thinks they know.
  • 2nd person- “You”
  • 3rd person- “They” The narrator is outside of the story. There are 2 kinds: Limited- The narrator doesn’t know everything. “Just the facts,” as if a reporter is telling the story.

Omniscient- Narrator knows all. Can get inside people’s heads.

  • 3rd person Omniscient Description of Prospero Description of the masqueraders
  • p.13 “ But the Prince Prospero was happy & dauntless & sagacious.”
  • It is ironic that everyone dies of the Red Death because that’s the very thing they were hiding from.
  • Themes are NOT one word. “Love” is not a theme. Themes are fully formed thoughts, expressed as sentences. “Love is tragic” is a theme.
  • Death always comes, always conquers life. It is inevitable.
  • Death comes for all people, no matter how rich or poor.
  • You can’t stop Fate.
  • p. 18 “And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.”
  • Pick any quotes about the wall, & then about death.
  • Quotes about the clock, & quotes about death.

About this Document

Notes for the short story in outline form. Includes motifs, vocabulary, and symbolism.