Poe is the crazy little voice inside one's head, the urge to scream out something inappropriate at a fancy dinner. His world is seemingly unreal and airless, yet it is full of very real fears, paranoia, and obsessions. Like a chiaroscuro, it's all very dark, with brief flashes of bright light, a literary Caravaggio. "Masque of the Red Death" is my favorite, along with "Tell-Tale Heart" and "William Wilson." For Poe, sure the world can be a scary place, but ultimately, it is you who are your own worst enemy. There is no escaping, and the innkeeper is mad.