The Masque of the Red Death
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A deadly and horrific plague is sweeping the land as the 1842 story The Masque of the Red Death opens. Once struck, the Red Death’s hapless victims begin to writhe in pain and sweat profusely—with blood instead of sweat coursing from their pores—until all is over within minutes. Prince Prospero is desperate to escape this horrendous fate. He invites one thousand of his fellow noblemen to seek refuge at his home. Shrugging off the horrors faced by their less fortunate countrymen, the nobles gather at Prospero’s abbey to wait out the danger. As a special treat for his guests, Prospero decides to throw a masquerade ball for everyone. On the night of the ball, the abbey is decorated in extravagant fashion and the party-goers all don their costumes. As Prospero surveys the crowd, however, he notices an extra guest—a mysterious shrouded figure. When Prospero demands to know who this shameless trespasser is, he does not realize that he is in for the kind of ghoulish surprise that only Edgar Allen Poe could have dreamed up.
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Soon after his birth in Boston, Massachusetts, Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) lost both of his parents. The young Poe went to live with a couple from Virginia, where he went to school and eventually to college. Poe only briefly attended university before dropping out to embark on a short-lived stint in the military. While still quite young, Poe published his first book of poems, Tamerlane, and discovered that in writing, he had found direction for his life. Poe began to produce short stories and non-fiction prose for various publications in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Over the years, his work enjoyed increasing popularity. In the 1830s, Poe wrote many of his most famous works, including some of the very first examples of detective fiction, a genre that he is credited with inventing. His gothic tales of murder and mystery, among them The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, The Tell-Tale Heart, and The Masque of the Red Death, thrilled readers in America and Europe. Poe’s poetry was also well received in his lifetime, and he published what is perhaps his most famous poem, The Raven, in 1845. Almost as if it was a strange tale of his own making, Poe’s untimely death continues to be the subject of much speculation to this day. In the middle of the night in October of 1849, Poe was found wandering the streets of Baltimore in a delirious and weakened state. Wearing clothes that did not belong to him and calling out to an unidentified person named “Reynolds,” Poe died in a Baltimore hospital a few days later. Poe’s legend lives on today, with readers all over the world delighting in his enigmatic and haunting tales and devoted fans regularly paying their respects at his gravesite in Baltimore.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH.
THE "Red Death" had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal -- the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with ...
Reviewed by alesita on Oct 8, 2009
Reviewed by originaloflaura on Mar 18, 2009
More predictable than I would've predicted
There will be blood!
Reviewed by tarakeeny on Feb 12, 2009
Read this Short story in my 10th grade English Class.. definitely one of my favorites.. the colors of the rooms that the prince chases "Death" Through actually symbolize the stages of life.. red and black being death, green being young adult.. those are all i can remember right now.. very interesting
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Ratings for 'The Masque of the Red Death' by Poe, Edgar Allan