When reading a short story one may feel happy, sad, or even scared. The way the story makes the reader feel is called the mood of the story. Edgar Allan Poe said that every part of the story contributes to the mood the author is trying to create. All of the literary elements in The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe contribute to the mood of horror.
Characterization is a significant quality or feature given to a character in a story. The Red Death is described as a very bloody, painful disease in the opening paragraph. Later the Red Death is personified as the uninvited guest at Prince Prospero's masked ball. The Red Death also comes across as cruel because of all the death he causes.
When Poe uses words like hideous, horror, and fatal to describe the Red Death, it makes the reader feel afraid. The connotations Poe uses of these words are what makes you feel fear.
The setting of the story is grim. Half of the prince's population has succumbed to the Red Death. So, the prince gathers 1,000 friends to stay at his castle, locked away from society. The thought of staying locked up for six months makes the reader feel uneasy.
In six of the seven rooms of the prince's palace, the stained glass windows matched the room's décor. The seventh room, which no guest would dare enter, was decorated in black, but the windows were a deep blood color. This also instills the mood of fear.
There is a lot of symbolism that contributes to the mood. The blue room, which is first, is in the East. This is where the party begins. The black room, which is last, is in the West. This is where everyone dies. This symbolizes the rising and setting sun, which rises in the East and sets in the West.
Each room's color symbolizes something. The first room, the blue room, stands for beginning. The party begins here. The purple room stands for innocence. The fourth and fifth rooms, the green and orange rooms, stand for life beginning to end.