Critique of "The Masque of the Red Death".
Edgar Allan Poe created some of the most terrifying written works of all time, including The Masque of the Red Death. Throughout the years, authors have tried to convey terror in horror stories. Some people think it is difficult, or even impossible, to instill fright by means of the written word. The Masque of the Red Death proves that a skilled writer can very effectively create a sense of fear in a reader. Poe's life was difficult and chaotic. Poe's life was filled with tragedy, including the death of family and loved ones. He used these tragic events in his writing. A reader of Poe's works sometimes questions his sanity. One wonders how someone could possibly think of these things. .
In The Masque of the Red Death, Poe uses diction, detail, and imagery to create a tone of horror. He creates a sense of unease in the reader by using frightening words to develop his story. As the story begins, the "Red Death" "had long devastated the country" (p.13). By using the word "devastated", Poe immediately conveys a dark, eerie mood. Devastation leaves the reader thinking that there is no hope. Poe further builds the mood of his epic work early on by saying "No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous" (p.13). In this passage there are many key words that convey threatening feelings to the reader. Pestilence, or plague, is an incurable disease that wipes out hundreds or even thousands of people at a time. In earlier times plagues would wipe out entire countries and leave not even a breath of human life to survive. .
Diction is only one method Poe uses to create the feeling of hate and fear in The Masque of the Red Death. The amount of detail a writer gives, or fails to give, can be a .
major factor in how the story is seen by the reader. The unknown is always scarier than the known. The unknown leaves it up to the reader to imagine all possibilities and to draw on their own ideas of bad and evil.