44 pages 1 hour read

Edgar Allan Poe

The Masque of the Red Death

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1842

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Essay Topics


Poe tells us that “there are some who would have thought [Prospero] mad. His followers felt that he was not. It was necessary to hear and see and touch him to be sure that he was not” (741). Do you think Prospero is mad? Why or why not? What is the significance of being able to touch him in proving his sanity? If he is mad, what is the significance of this to the story?


What is the significance of the “tall and narrow Gothic window[s]” (740) set with stained glass that illuminate each room?


Scholars are undecided as to whether Poe’s story should be considered an allegory, and if so, what exactly for. Where do you stand on this question? Should we take Poe’s story as having a moral beyond the text, and if so, what is it? Explain with references from the text.