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The Masque of the Red Death

by Edgar Allan Poe

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What is meant by the line "they were arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and appointments" in Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death"?

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Here Poe is referring to the nobles who are described in contradictory terms. When one hears the word "arabesque," one thinks of the fluid and sensuous lines of a ballet dancer. But these figures are distorted. They have "unsuited limbs and appointments." In paragraph seven, Poe also calls these people "grotesque," "bizarre" and "terrible." The effect for the reader is to feel the full hideousness of their being.

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