It is a very difficult challenge to convey the hopeless bleak world in which we live in a mere few pages, but in the short ghost story "Masque of the Red Death," Poe expertly portrays an entire symbolic replica of human life. For every detail no matter how insignificant, important pieces of symbolism are expressed. .
Two of the most essential pieces of the story are the abbey and its inhabitants. In the literal form, the abbey plays the role of a hiding place, where the prince and his courtiers enjoy life and ignore the suffering of their own countrymen. They seem to represent the self-centered, self-righteous, section of our society. Their mockery of the dead and dying, or masque, is used to enlighten us to our own inborn greed and selfishness, not to say all people exhibit the traits at the level of the courtiers. Their leader, Prince Prospero seems to represent the kind of person that corrupts people and leads them along evil paths. .
The rooms in the abbeys represent stages of human life; the colors are the main symbolic factors. Beginning the story in the farthest room and ending it in the room opposite also help symbolize the transition from birth to death. The colors are the most important aspects to consider in the rooms of the abbey. Beginning with blue, representing birth, the trail continues on with stages of life, growth, the sowing and reaping of ones work, old age setting in, and finally, death. The last room is horrifying to say the least, the light gives the room a blood red look, grotesque shadows dance across the walls, this view brings out feelings similar to those humans feel towards death. Prince Prospero attempts to fight and save himself from death as other members of the party. Of course the end is inevitable no matter what mortal attempts are made. There is another object in the story that plays along with the room's symbolic passing of life. .
The clock plays a vital role in symbolic pieces of literature.