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Edgar Allan Poe

Poe had a very painful childhood because he lost both his parents when he was just three years old. Poe was brought up by his foster parents. After finishing school he went to University of Virginia where he learnt Latin and poetry (Merriman). He also worked in the United States Army for two years In the year 1827, two of his works ‘Oh! That my young life were a lasting dream’ and ‘Tamerlane and the Other poems’ got published. His second book ‘Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems’ was published in 1829. In the year 1831 ‘Poems’ was published. He started his career as a critic and author after being appointed as an editor in 1835. As an editor his other works were ‘Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine’ (1839-1840), ‘Graham’s Magazine’ (1841-1842), ‘Evening Mirror’ and ‘Godey’s Lady’s Book’. Poe had an obsession with madness, horror and decay that was a result of his phobia of death, and this fear loomed in most of his short stories and poems. ‘The Masque of the Red Death’, an allegory written by Edgar Allan Poe, was published in 1942. Edgar Allan Poe was known for his obsession with the elements of madness, horror, decay and death, especially in his Gothic fiction. ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ is one such example. Death has been personified as Red Death, ‘red’ to symbolize blood, the ‘Avatar’ of ‘Death’. The tale depicts and conveys the message that death is an inevitable occurrence of life. No matter how much one tries to evade it, the messenger of death will surely get to the person and thus reign over all. Yet people like Prince Prospero may often take it in their ego to evade death with all possible means in their power (Poe). Yet, the hand of death is long enough to reach all mortals. A significant side of the story is the depiction of the attitudes of human being towards death and the ultimate consequence. Edgar Allan Poe’s work incorporates a blend of myth, allegory or fairy tale and themes of death, sin, madness and the doomsday. A strong vivid imagery and a haunting narrative voice – all lead to a clear insight into human nature and their condition. The imageries used here have also overlapped with his other works. The Red Death is used to personify death and here it may represent a kind of epidemic that had taken over the entire country. The ebony clock has a similar effect as the ebony bird of his poem ‘Raven’, both signifying the prophet of death – “thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!” like any allegory the story has a symbolic meaning besides the literature version (Harmon, 436). The seven rooms with different colors may signify the stages of life, the last room, being black in color symbolize death. This story can thus be read as the broader philosophical concept of life and death and the powerlessness of human beings to escape death. The courage of the prince indicates his pride and courage to fight death. He faces death upfront while Death enters the castle like a thief and quietly engulfs everyone who dared to try to escape the grasp of Red Death. The luxury and revel, the light hearted entertainments are all but a matter of moment and illusion– the only lasting reality is death. The story also demonstrates how death can prove all the arrogant people who want to escape it to be wrong. Prospero’s belief of using his wealth to keep away the plague turned out to be wrong. All the material pleasures of life shall turn into dry sand with the coming of death. Here the prince’s attitude symbolizes that of the unwise people who thinks riches can be used for self defense and can even buy death as they can buy all worldly things. They want to use money as a means of self defense as well as self indulgence. Ironically the ...Show more

Summary

Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) a short story writer and poet of American origin is known as the father of contemporary detective stories and a great poet. He belonged to an early Victorian period. Edgar Poe was born to actor parents on 19 January 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts…
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