On Tuesday, we put together a brief plot summary of ‘The Masque of the Red Death’, Edgar Allan Poe’s short but terrifying story about a prince who retreats to his castellated abbey with a thousand of his courtiers, to avoid the horrific and fast-acting plague known as the ‘Red Death’. You can read Poe’s story here. Now, it’s time for some words of analysis concerning this intriguing story which, like many of Poe’s best stories, seems to work on several levels.
First, there is the literary precedent for the basis of Poe’s story: the Italian writer Boccaccio’s fourteenth-century work The Decameron is about a group of noblemen and noblewomen who retreat to an abbey to flee the plague, or Black Death. All that’s changed in Poe’s basic setup is the colour of the plague, to the fictional ‘Red Death’. Interestingly,