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The Masque of the Red Death

(Izbrana dela #2)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  24,663 ratings  ·  899 reviews
The story follows Prince Prospero's attempts to avoid a dangerous plague known as the Red Death by hiding in his abbey. He, along with many other wealthy nobles, has a masquerade ball within seven rooms of his abbey, each decorated with a different color.

In the midst of their revelry, a mysterious figure disguised as a Red Death victim enters and makes his way through
Paperback, 76 pages
Published April 30th 2004 by BookSurge Classics (first published January 1st 1842)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  24,663 ratings  ·  899 reviews

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Glenn Russell
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing

I’ve always sensed a strong connection to Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death, perhaps because I've both played and listen to loads of medieval music, perhaps because I enjoy the art and history and philosophy of that period, or, perhaps because I’ve always been drawn to literature dealing with issues of life and death. Whatever the reason, I love this tale. Here are my reflections on several themes:

The tale’s Red Death sounds like the Black Death of 1349 where a family member could be
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gothic
Fascinating and lurid allegory about a group of people who, on the invitation of "Prince Prospero," lock themselves within a "castellated abbey" to escape the Red Death. The inhabitants of the abbey are provided "all the appliances of pleasure," and boy do they know how to party: "there were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine." It all culminates in a huge masked ball held in several colorful and gaudy chambers: ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

I don't know how I overlooked "The Masque of the Red Death" when I was going through my Poe phase a while back, but someone's review reminded me of it (Thanks, random Goodreads friend!). So I found a copy of it online here and gave it another read to refresh my memory.

This story is both less and more than I recalled. It's long on setting and mood and short on plot. The plot could probably be described in about two sentences. Let's give it a try:
A deadly plague is ravaging the land, and the
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe are playing a round of golf in the Great Hereafter and discussing Poe’s short work The Masque of the Red Death.

Vonnegut: Damn! Hooked it.

Lovecraft: You’ve been pulling it left all day, you raised your head on the swing.

Bradbury: I saw you move your front foot.

Poe: You need to keep your arm straighter.

Vonnegut: OK! Damn it. Ed, what in the hell made you write the Red Death story?

Bradbury: Masque of the Red Death, one of my favorites,
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Death waits for no man. Time can’t stop the inevitable; it can only delay it. This tale, perhaps, embodies the idea that death is an unavoidable end for all; it is one that we all must embrace because it simply cannot be escaped. Time will run out for everyone eventually.

And now was acknowledged the presence of Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in his despairing posture of his fall.

Aishu Rehman
This is a typical type Poe short story in terms of its dark, gloomy, gothic atmosphere and also its obscurity since the story requires deep-analysis and interpretation. However, it is different from others due to its didactic message: Death is inevitable, no matter what you do and no matter who you are, you cannot escape it just like the Prince Prospero - an allusion to the Tempest.
Bionic Jean
The Masque of the Red Death, written in 1842 by Edgar Allan Poe, is a surprisingly short story, which is generally regarded to be allegorical. In it, Prince Prospero is so terrified of the pestilential "Red Death", that he walls himself and a thousand wealthy nobles up in his castellated abbey, where they have a masquerade ball, moving from room to room. Obviously they are going to come to a sticky end. At the time of writing Poe's wife was suffering from tuberculosis, and there was an epidemic ...more
Moha Dem
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: english-novels, short
Even if this is a short story, Edgar Allan Poe knew how to make a piece of art out of it ... when he was like describing scenes, I felt like am already in front of that castle he was talking about ... I should read it in french too i guess
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star, reviewed
In one of my Literature textbooks, this is the story the book chose to best set the example of how important setting can be to a story.

Poe's incredible talent in setting mood through the most miniscule of details is powerful as he establishes dread, irony, and a hefty infusion of Gothic feel by detailing the colors of a series of rooms and what they represent to the audience and characters. The symbolism of the clock is musical and alluring; the ominous clang and the dancers reactions, with its
Kimberly Antill
When I think of Gothic literature, Edgar Allen Poe is sure to come to mind. Although it is a short story, the Masque of the Red Death is chilling. Poe sets up a very atmospheric read with the colorful and indulgent Prince Prospero and the mysterious guest who is both frightening and foreboding. I think the Masque of the Red Death is a fine example of why Poe's works are considered classics.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this one a lot more than The Tell-Tale Heart. The Red Death is a fictional plague that may or may not have been based on consumption/tuberculosis. Prince Prospero is a dreadful man who is vulgar with his wealth while his country suffers around him. He hosts a huge ball and of course, meets a grisly demise.

A lot of time was spent, it seemed, on describing the various rooms, which each had a color and theme. The revelers were all too happy to join him in celebration until things start to
I'm loving Poe so far. I'm surprised I haven't been given recommendation for him so far but I guess not many of my GR friends have read his work.

Edgar Allan Poe and Halloween go hand in hand.

It has been many years since I first read this story but it never ceases to chill. We cannot run away or hide from death. It comes for us all.
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Re-Read, 11/5/17:
Maybe my favorite Poe. He has this style, that makes you feel this rush and think, dang, that's cool! I remember feeling more of that in the first read. This time, I don't know if perspectives changed or if I understood the objectivity of the piece better, but I felt a visceral terror flowing through my body from my gut that ended in an explosion of thrill and high, and bodily reactions of goosebumps and chill-bumps in the end. This Red Death guy - not someone I'd like to meet
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
I love the premise- fearing a horrible sickness that has seized his lands, a hedonistic prince locks himself and hundreds of his friends away in a castle, with an enormous wall running the length of it so nothing can get in or out. But soon the prince's fanciful denial is shattered in a very... strange way.

Basically, what my dislike of this comes down to is the length. It's only four pages, which (for me at least) simply is not enough time to become invested in a story and care about its ending.
Emm the Bookmunculus - Half Human, Half Library
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Prince Prospero
Recommended to Emm the Bookmunculus - Half Human, Half Library by: the Red Death
My personal favorite horror short, pretty much ever.
I don't think anyone will have gotten the full Poe Experience without reading Masque at some point.
Lavish in detail and honestly, more powerful than a lot of full-length novels I've read. I wish there were a way to describe it without feeling like I'm squashing the whole point of reading it.
Rachel Aranda
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, ebooks
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim Friant
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars—A classic tale of hubris and irony! Also one of those stories that teachers love to dissect and analyze. I remember reading it back in school and trying to figure out the meaning behind all the colors of the rooms ... still don’t know, but I don’t think I’m missing much! However this is a chilling tale that has crazy imagery that gives me goosebumps! You can’t run from death, so don’t even try!
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Not even within the deep seclusion and iron gate security of Prince Prospero's Abbey (view spoiler)

Am loving reading POE!

Katarina Antonia
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The most horrifying Poes tale Ive ever read. Much symbolism, grotesque and death, of course. ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a re-read of one of my favourite Poe stories. And I loved it like usual.
classic reverie
Poe is such a master of the macabre and so enjoyable in print and listening to his adaptations on OTR (old time radio).
Now to this story, I felt myself one of the revellers being swept from room to room, reminding me of the frenzy of the dance in Vincent's Minnelli's 1949 Madame Bovary with Jennifer Jones. Poe describes the castellated Abbey and masquerade that has one feeling the clock striking and stoppage of the music real. The Prince tries to escape Red Death as Giovanni Boccaccio tries to
I still consider this to be the finest thing Edgar Allan Poe ever wrote. It is his greatest work in my opinion. Almost every line in it is beautiful in some way and the overall effect is considerable. I first read it back in school, but I was rereading it on audiobook, read by Basil Rathbone. Let me tell you, he does a good job. All the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. And it has that haunting, echoing last line "And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all".
Ankit Saxena
Sep 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
No a single catch in the short read.
Such an upsetting one again after 'The Fall of the House of Usher'. Failed series so far.
No Horror at all.
Not much to review, quiet a fall in grades of list.
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
This short story is hands down one of my favorite Poe stories! I love the symbolism and imagery in this tale. Basically, the "Red Death" is a plague that is wreaking havoc on the town in the story and Prince Prospero decides to lock himself, and many of his friends, away in his home. He ultimately ends up hosting a very grand masquerade party and while him and his people are lavishly partying it up within the confines of his sanctuary, everyone else is dying a terrible death. There are seven ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have always loved Poe's stories, this is one of my favorites!
Anish Kohli
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
1/05/19: Full review up

Heya guys! Remember me? No? No worries!
Allow me to re-introduce myself. I am Anish Kohli and I am the guy who apparently just does not do well with classics and yet he wants to read so many classics! Why? Why God, WHY????
*sobs in a corner for having been so cursed*

Well let’s ruin another famous author, shall we? Edgar Allen Poe, please don’t come back to haunt me for what I am about to say. Pretty please.

Well I just absolutely do not get the kind of writing where the
Iryna *Book and Sword*
I had read this story a while back for my English Composition II class and I honestly think that it made all the difference.

We were to read it and then analyze it deeply by themselves, and then present our musings to the class. If I just read it for pleasure I'm sure many of things would have just gone over my head. But with actually sitting down and thinking about all of the symbolism, brought out so much color to this short story.

My favorite Poetry will forever be The Pit and the Pendulum,
A good short story with a fascinating setting. You have to read it a few times to ascertain any deeper meaning, though one read through would provide enjoyment too. Great for Halloween, and picking up the symbolism behind the deeper colors, the inclusion of sickness, various social classes, etc. made it fun to dissect in short story club. If you're searching for a scary yet thought-provoking piece, I'd highly recommend Masque of the Red Death.
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first proper Poe, I've skimmed The Raven but I actually enjoyed this. He's very hard hitting with his elaborate, descriptive language, this man loves to experiment with the word, however, I love the symbolism and the message that, no matter how rich you are, death is inevitable for all.
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The name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and include such literary classics as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Fall of the House of Usher. This versatile writer’s oeuvre includes short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundreds of ...more

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