Edgar Allan Poe: A Fantasy

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An American writer Edgar Allan Poe created poetry and mystical short stories in a genre of dark Romanticism. In addition to horror stories, Poe also wrote humor tales, satires, and detective stories.

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The future writer was born on the nineteenth of January 1809 in Boston. David Poe and Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe had three children. Edgar Allan Poe studied in a University of Virginia and United States Military Academy.

The first publication of the short story The Masque of the Red Death with the subheading "A Fantasy" was in May 1842 in Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine. Edgar Allan Poe released a revised version of this story in an edition of the Broadway Journal in July 1845 under the today known title. This story was written after Edgar Allan Poes wife dead from tuberculosis. Thats why it is generally agreed that this event and also his memories about an epidemic of cholera makes Edgar Allan Poe choose the theme.

A great writer Edgar Allan Poe was 40 when he died the seventh of October 1849 in a hospital in Baltimore.

c. Setting: Describe the time, place and environment in the story.

There is no information about the particular time in a story, but when reading it seems that it is fourteenth century Europe. The main setting of the story is a closed abbey built in a way of a castle. The central elements of the story take place in seven rooms decorated in various colors and built in a way that characters must walk from East to West.

d. The Characters: Mention and describe (character traits) the main character and the secondary characters.

The main character of this short story is a Prince Prospero. Prince is a flat character. The reader can see only some of his character traits. Prospero is a leader and other characters were described only sketchy, like his followings.

Prince seems selfish and supercilious person who dont want to take reality. He tries with the help of his wealth escape from death and disease.

e. The Plot: State the introduction, rising action, the climax, the falling action and the resolution.

The plot development of this story is linear. It begins with an introduction form like a description of the settings and indetifining the purpose of the starting events. The rising action of this story is the description of a ball. The author creates an atmosphere of waiting for something dreadful will happen. The climax in this story is an appearance of someone in a mask of the red death. The falling action is an episode when Prince Prospero strives after the dreadful newcomer. It brings the story to its resolution when Prince dies trying to catch the red death.

f. Conflict: Identify and explain the type of conflict in the story.

The conflict in this story is external. This short story describes the conflict between men and their fear of death. It shows in the symbolic way like competition between Prince Prospero with his people and a disease.

g. Theme: Identify the central theme in the story. What is it trying to teach?

The central theme of this story is life and death. The author brings up the question of the fear of death. In this story, Edgar Allan Poe is it trying to teach his readers that there is no way to escape from Death.

h. Point of View: Who narrates the story? How do you know?

This story is written like a third-person narration. When reading this story, it seems that it was written by the witness of those events.

i. Thoughts about the story. Sample questions to answer might be: What do you like about the story?

In this story, I like settings and the description of a masquerade most of all.

What was the most intriguing moment?

The most intriguing moment for me is the masquerade. The author created an atmosphere of an expectation for something bad.

Is it relevant in modern times?

In my opinion, the theme of this story is relevant nowadays. You cant isolate yourself from the danger and no one can escape from death.

How could the story be different if it happened in another time or place?

The main difference could be in settings, purposes of the characters actions.


Meyers, J. (1992). Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. New York: Cooper Square Press.

Poe, E. A. (1984). The Masque of the Red Death. In Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (pp. 256-261). Doubleday.

Roppolo, & Patrick, J. (1967). Meaning and 'The Masque of the Red Death. ' In R. Regan (Ed.), Poe: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs.

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