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The Masque of the Red Death

by Edgar Allan Poe

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What does Prince Prospero do to protect himself and his friends in "The Masque of the Red Death"?

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In Edgar Allan Poe's classic short story "The Masque of the Red Death" the character of Prince Prospero, believing that he is capable of saving himself and his noble friends, "summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys." His intentions were to hide from the Red Death, a plague that had torn through the land and devastated the country. The Red Death was horrifying because of the way it killed its victims and the short amount of time it took between the victims' initial contraction of the pestilence to the time in which it killed them. Prince Prospero was essentially attempting to hide behind his wealth, thinking this could save him. He locked the doors to his fabulously bizarre fortress and tried to ignore the death that was taking place outside. 

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