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“The Masque of the Red Death” versus “The Raven”

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Edgar Allen Poe is a writer noted for consistencies in the dark and gothic style in his writing. Poe was very popular for his short stories and poems, which clearly show his creative brilliance. Poe’s writing is uniquely terrifying, intriguing, and at the same time, brings up the questions of life and death. He utilizes the theme of death, which is probably related to the death of his young wife “Virginia” or his mother, who died when he was only three (encyclopedia). Poe is also obsessed with the use of color throughout his writings, with imagery. In the short story, “The Masque of the Red Death”, and the poem “The Raven”, Edgar Allen Poe uses death and color to convey his ideals. For example, in “The Mask of the Red Death” the short story talks about a plague that killed 75% of Europe’s population. In addition, “The Raven” displayed images of black areas that portrayed fear for the reader.

Edgar Allan Poe uses death to convey his ideals. By looking at his language, one can tell his abilities to strike terror into the hearts of the readers. All of his adjectives and adverbs are very dark, sinister, and gothic. For example, the opening line of “The Raven” brought forth a very dark setting with the word “dreary”. Also, “The Masque of the Red Death”, uses the word “pallid”, which is defined as pale, and paleness represents death (dictionary & thesaurus). In “The Raven”, the story is about the man who dreads over the death of his beloved wife, Lenore. Throughout the story he wants to have the ability to see her again and pleads to a raven if he will let him, which relates to death. The raven itself symbolizes death, and declines to the character’s supplication, although, they were not done intentionally. In “The Masque of the Red Death”, the entire story is about death and about a pestilence called the Red Death, which takes people’s lives away one by one.

Edgar Allan Poe uses color to convey certain imagery of detail. Poe uses imagery to express the important use of color. Color as well as death, is a recurring theme that was expressed all throughout Poe’s works. Color was used to create imagery of the characters, places, as well as objects. Red was used to represent blood and death, while black was used to represent evil and fear. In the poem, “The Raven” Poe describes this symbol as “this ebony bird…” (41). The bird described in the quotation, was a black bird that represented death and striked fear into the heart of the main character.

The main character of “The Raven” said, “Prophet, said I. Thing of evil. – prophet still. If bird of devil!” (228). The Raven is clearly portrayed as an evil presence signified by the color. This is how Edgar Allan Poe uses color to convey certain imagery. In “the Masque of the Red Death,” color is expressed as well. Not only was it used to describe the color of the rooms and how it was used to magnify the mood or “feeling” of the room. Black was the death room, as it was where the prince had fallen. The red windows were used to symbolize that blood would be spilled into that room, for the sun had sun into the room through the red windows. The clock in the end was also emphasized with color, as it “stood erect and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock” (231). The clock was described with color and conveyed certain imagery. Edgar Allan Poe used color to convey his details in his writings.

Throughout Edgar Allan Poe’s writings, he tends to use death and color to convey certain details. The details and were present in both, “The Raven and “The Masque of the Red Death”. Poe uses many different ways to describe and convey himself to express death and color. The use of color is portrayed in Poe’s writings through the characters, rooms, and setting. The use of death is shown throughout the writings through the dark imagery and illusions to create a certain setting. Edgar Allan Poe expresses in his writings that, everything one says or writes in his or her writing can affect the larger picture; such as like set the mood of one’s writing.

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