"The Masque of the Red Death" and Edgar Allan Poe Analytical Essay

"The Masque of the Red Death" and Edgar Allan Poe
Explores Edgar Allan Poe's " The Masque of the Red Death" and the similarities between the tale and Poe's life.
# 116435 | 1,881 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2009 | US
Published on Sep 27, 2009 in Literature (English)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


The author of this paper examines how Edgard Allan Poe's own life's obstacles influenced and inspired the writing of "The Masque of the Red Death." One specific source of inspiration involves Poe's foster father, John Allan, ignoring Poe's pleas for help in assisting his wife, who was ill with tuberculosis. In the story, the audacity of Prince Prospero holding a ball while the outside world dies can be taken as a symbol that reflects John Allan ignoring Poe's many pleas for assistance. There is no compassion in the prince just as John Allan felt no compassion for Poe. "The Masque of the Red Death" is Edgar Allan Poe's literary way of exposing the truly wicked ways of his enemies and visiting upon them the most horrible punishment he can imagine to serve them justice for their crimes.

From the Paper:

"Edgar had never forgiven John Allan and despised everything that he had and Edgar did not. This hatred extended from solely John Allan to any wealthy person who was not willing to help or at least acknowledge his own genius. Nathanial Hawthorne was one such person who was so fascinated with Edgar's tales that he took the time to write him a rather cordial letter expressing his admiration for his earnest criticism and writing ability. On the other hand Edgar felt very slighted and unappreciated compared to many of his literary peers. "He could not stand to see other writers, such as Henry Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson and James Russell Lowell, earn more praise and money than he did" (Streissguth 79). Aristocracy seemed to hold Edgar down and when examining "The Masque of the Red Death" we see the revenge that he would wish extracted upon them. Prince Prospero is the embodiment of John Allan and all other men who possessed wealth, but refused to come to his aid. It is possible that Edgar desired the very pestilence that had haunted him for so many years to go forth and destroy those who never knew want or suffered from financial trouble. What better way to see his enemies destroyed than by the disease he was most familiar with?"

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Meyers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe His Life And Legacy. New York NY: Cooper Square Press, 2000.
  • Poe, Edgar A. Masque of the Red Death. Ed. Mary McAleer Balkun. Upper Saddle River NJ: Pearson Education, 2005. 238-242.
  • "Pulmonary Tuberculosis." The New York Times Health Guide Online. 11 Dec. 2008. 11 Dec. 2008 <http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/pulmonary-tuberculosis/overview.html>.
  • Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.
  • Streissguth, Tom. A&E Biography Edgar Allan Poe. Minneapolis MN: Lerner Publications Company, 2001.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

"The Masque of the Red Death" and Edgar Allan Poe (2009, September 27) Retrieved January 28, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/the-masque-of-the-red-death-and-edgar-allan-poe-116435/

MLA Format

""The Masque of the Red Death" and Edgar Allan Poe" 27 September 2009. Web. 28 January. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/the-masque-of-the-red-death-and-edgar-allan-poe-116435/>