How the Elements of American Gothic Fiction are portrayed in Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death”
By Claudia Gonzalez
In his short story “The Masque of the Red Death” Edgar Allen Poe portrays the Gothic style by describing an ominous setting,by creating vivid symbolic characters, and finally by using omens and foreshadowing to create a sense of terror and doom in his readers.”The Masque of the Red Death” represents a American Gothic Fiction which is a subgenre of gothic fiction.Elements specific to American Gothic includes:rational vs. irrational, Puritanism, guilt, ab humans, ghosts, monsters, and domestic objection.
Poe creates several fantastic and ominous setting in his short story. One example of this is his description of the castle itself, and the plague that rages outside the castle. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. This description creates a fearful feeling because each room is symbolic it’s not hard to trace the path that Death personified takes. The description of the interior of the castle is frightening as well. The apartments were so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time. When Poe describes, the multicolored rooms creates a strong emotional effect which is there was a sharp turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect.
Furthermore, Poe’s symbolic characters each represent a Gothic element. For example, Prince Prospero is clearly a symbolic character. Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. Therefore, what prospero represents is fearlessness and determination bravery. Additionally, the masked character of the Red Death itself it also highly symbolic. Blood was its Avatar and its seal-the redness and horror of blood. The masked figure therefore represents Death, Blood, horror, pain.
And finally Poe uses omens and foreshadowing to create a sense of terror and doom. The first time the...