Edgar Allen Poe is known for his use of symbolism. That is apparent in one of his best-known short stories, The Masque of the Red Death. There are endless examples and interpretations of symbolism in this story. It must be studied at a literal and allegorical level in order to be truly understood. The major symbols in this story are the ebony clock, Prince Prospero, and the seven colored rooms. First of all, this huge ebony clock is found in the black room, so it's obviously a sign of death. It's a symbol that death is inevitable. The clock is a constant reminder that death is getting closer and closer because it chimes every single hour. This clock had a way of pausing the whole party, music and dancing, and killing the enthusiasm of the party. The guests at the party had no way of stopping the pendulum from swinging and preventing that awkward pause in the party.
Another important symbol in this story is Prince Prospero, as an all around contradiction and end of feudalism. He's an ironic character because of his name and being described as wise and wealthy, however he's killed by the Red Death by trying to take it on alone. He's a symbol of ending feudalism because the only people he invited to his ball were rich knights and women at the expense of peasant. The represents the divide socioeconomically that was occurring during the period this was written, the feudalistic period. At this time, the Black Death killed so many people in Europe that there weren't many workers anymore, which led to a high demand for labor and helped end feudalism. .
The seven colored rooms are an allegory of the cycle of human life. First of all, the rooms run east to west. The sun rises in the east so it is usually connected with beginnings and life, while the sun sets in the west, which is associated with endings. Each room is a different stage of life according to the color. The first room is blue, which represents birth.