The Masque of the Red Death (Poe)

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The Masque of the Red Death
1842
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A prince and his courtiers tried to escape a deadly plague by hiding in a secluded abbey, but the plague, personified as a masked figure, infiltrated their masquerade ball, killing everyone present.

The Red Death was a devastating and gruesome plague that swept through the country, causing sharp pains, dizziness, and profuse bleeding from the pores, ultimately leading to death within half an hour. Despite the widespread devastation, Prince Prospero remained happy and fearless.

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Prince Prospero — ruler of a devastated country; happy, dauntless, and sagacious; hosted a masquerade ball in his secluded abbey.

But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious.

He decided to gather a thousand of his healthy and lighthearted friends from his court and retreat to one of his secluded castles. They sealed themselves inside, believing they could escape the Red Death and enjoy a life of pleasure and entertainment.

After several months of seclusion, Prince Prospero hosted a magnificent masked ball for his guests. The ball took place in a suite of seven rooms, each decorated in a different color and illuminated by colored stained glass windows. The final room was draped in black velvet and had blood-red windows, creating a chilling atmosphere. In this room, there was also a large ebony clock that struck a haunting chime every hour, causing the revelers to pause and reflect on their mortality.

As midnight approached, the guests noticed a mysterious figure dressed in a blood-stained shroud and wearing a mask resembling a corpse.

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The Red Death — personification of the deadly plague; appeared as a masked figure in blood-stained grave-clothes.

The figure's appearance caused great alarm and disgust among the partygoers. Prince Prospero, enraged by the intrusion, demanded the unmasking of the figure and threatened to hang the offender at sunrise.

The figure moved silently through the rooms, with Prince Prospero in pursuit. When the figure reached the black velvet room, it turned to confront the prince, who fell dead on the spot. The guests, now overcome with terror, seized the figure only to discover that there was no tangible form beneath the shroud and mask.

And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death.

The Red Death had infiltrated the castle, and one by one, the guests succumbed to the deadly plague. The castle was left in darkness and decay, with the Red Death reigning supreme over all.