Masque of the Red Death

1 January 2017

It is typical when reading Edgar Allan Poe’s literature for it to give off a spine-chilling sensation. Poe likes to specify the words he places into his writing, in order for the reader to picture it in their mind. To make this possible, Edgar Allan Poe utilizes negative diction and imagery to manifest a dark and sinister tone in his story, “The Masque of the Red Death”. Diction is the word choice a writer uses in their writing to develop a special meaning.

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Poe wants to send a dark emotion to his readers and starts off his story by personifying “Death”, giving it human qualities, portraying it is as the protagonist. He wants to make sure the reader realizes how important Death is in the story. Poe also speaks a lot about death and the horrible way these people are dying. This gives off a sinister tone of how he constantly refers to death. Poe is very precise with the words he uses during his story to foreshadow what will be the end result.

Poe utilizes very vivid imagery in his story to paint a picture in the readers head. He constantly refers to blood though out the story, “the redness and horror of blood”, “profuse bleeding at the pores”, “scarlet stains upon the body”. He emphasizes blood so you can visualize in your mind what they all see every day everyone dyeing the worst way possible. This creates a dark tone by the reader visualizing how these people are suffering dying the way they are.

When Poe describes to the reader about the seven rooms he speaks about each color and the glass windows that match the room. He spends a lot of time describing the black room, how it has “scarlet –a deep blood color” windows. Poe wants the reader to sense that something is not right in the black room “the dark hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of company bold enough to set foot”.

He wants one to catch sight of how frightening the view of this room is and how no one set foot inside. He makes the reader feel the suspense of the story as if they are really there. He speaks about the gigantic ebony clock and how it struck hour by hour, and when it did the emotion that went around the room “the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused reverie or meditation.

This makes one feel the intensity of the clocks strikes how Death is an hour closer each strike. These are only a few examples of how Edgar Allan Poe uses diction and imagery in his story “The Masque of the Red Death” to set a dark and sinister tone. Poe wants the reader to catch the concept of every word he says and why he says it. He also wants one to really feel the hair-rising sensations of the suspense throughout his story.

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