The Masque of the Red Death

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"The Masque of the Red Death"
Illustration by Harry Clarke, 1919
AuthorEdgar Allan Poe
CountryUnited States
Published inGraham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine
Media typePrint
Publication dateMay 1842

"The Masque of the Red Death" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. It was first published in May 1842 in Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine.

Illustration of Prince Prospero confronting the "Red Death" by Arthur Rackham, 1935

Plot[change | change source]

A painful and fatal disease involving blood aka "Red Death" is ravaging the country of Prince Prospero; the prince deals with the disease by placing himself and a 1,000 Lords and Ladies within an abbey/fortress-hoping to outlast the disease by locking it outside. One night at a masked ball, there is shock among the dancers when a figure cloathed like a corpse in a winding sheet daubled with blood appears; it goes from the six ballrooms each colored blue, purple, green, orange, white, and violet into the last room..a dark colored room only illuminated by a flaming brazier before a single window of scarlet glass and an eboney clock. In rage at the figure, Prospero runs after it with a drawn dagger; his court hears him scream and finds him lying dead. His courtiers try to unmask the figure..only to find nothingness! Only then do they realize the figure is the Red Death itself, and all of the guests contract and succumb to the disease. With the last of them die the clock and the flames illuminating the scarlet window both die out at the same time. "And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all".

Other websites[change | change source]