Reviews May Contain Minor Spoilers

If you're reading a review you should expect to hear some spoilers. I try to keep them to a minimum though.

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Masque of the Red Death

Day 10
The Masque of the Red Death (1842) By: Edgar Allan Poe

A kingdom is ravaged by a disease that leaves the victims convulsing and perspiring blood, not to mention, dead in half an hour. Prince Prospero decides to hole up in his castle. After half a year of hiding, he decides to throw a ball and decorates each room in a different color. The final room he sets in black with a clock so loud it drowns out the musicians and window panes the color of red blood.

Perhaps it's taken a bit too long to get to Poe. A true master of atmosphere and suspense, Poe builds a world of fear and denial, teasing the horrors to come with a description of the plague. This is a classic for all the right reasons, playing on man's fears and causing reflection on that fear. One need look no further than this tale.

Our Coward
Prince Prospero is the lord of a plague ridden land. Though little description of the prince himself is given, we get a feel of him through his actions and decorating decisions. He cares only for himself and his friends; thus, he earns the ire of the Masqued Individual.

Bloody Foe
The Masqued Individual shows up relatively late in the tale and taunts the nobles with a mask that resembles a dead plague victim. He is often seen as a metaphor, though one should actually reading the tale to find out why.

Lavish Atmosphere
The castle's decorations are meticulously described. Even the general happenings at the party are rendered so that one gets a feel for what's going on.

In the End
The Masked Individual leads Prospero on a merry chase through the rooms of the party. In the final one his secret is revealed. A great end to a chilling tale.

If you are reading this and you haven't read this story, read it! I'd forgotten how much I personally enjoy this story. It is one of the best horror fictions out there.

There's no excuse; it's free on Project Gutenberg and Kindle.

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