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The Masque of the Red Death

by Edgar Allan Poe

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What is the chronology of "The Masque of the Red Death"?

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This short story by Edgar Allen Poe opens with a commentary on what had happened recently to the land where the story is based. It has been plagued by a disease called The Read Death that was sudden and quick in killing those it infects. However, Prince Prospero seems to be a character who thinks he can cheat death. He gathers together a thousand of his courtiers and together they lock themselves in a deserted abbey with all the entertainment they need to divert themselves. After 5 or 6 months of their seclusion, he holds a very special party. This party is based in 7 rooms. Each has a different colour and run one after the other, going in the following order: blue, purple, green, orange, white, violent, black. Each room is cleverly covered with light of that colour by means of a brazier behind a stained glass window of the according colour. The one exception is the final room, which has a red stained glass window. This room is so ghastly that few venture in to it. There is also in this room a giant black clock. Whenever it struck the hour, it produced a momentary silence in the revels before people began to party again. It is after this clock strikes twelve that many become aware of one guest who is described as representing the Red Death. So outraged by this intruder, Prospero orders that he be unmasked and punished, yet no-one is able to grasp him as he moves from the blue room and begins to walk through all of them to the read room. Prospero, enraged, runs after him himself with a dagger drawn. He meets him in the seventh room, where Prospero drops dead with a cry. The other guests arrive, grasp the intruder, only to find that there was no one there underneath the disguise. It is then that the guests realise the Red Death has penetrated the castle and all of them die within the hour.

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