The Masque of the Red Death
by Edgar Allan Poe
The Masque of the Red Death Mortality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Paragraph)
The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this chamber only, the color of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet --a deep blood color. (4)
This room is black and blood red: colors associated with death. It represents death. And it's even more attention-getting than it would be otherwise because it stands out from the other rooms by having windows which don't match the walls. Even in the midst of the Prospero's party, the secluded world fun and safety, death is noticeably present. The interesting thing is that it's there by Prospero's own design…
It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang… (5)
The clock is another clear symbol of death. It's black, imposing, and stands in the black and red room (a.k.a. the death room). It represents the continuous passing of time, which brings death closer every instant.
…and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes, (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies,) there came yet another chiming of the clock. (5)
Poe reminds us again, with a sense of urgency, that "time is flying" – bringing everyone alive closer to their deaths. Poe's division of the hour into seconds makes the passage of time seem faster. It's much harder to ignore it if it's parceled out into smaller pieces, since they go by much more quickly.