The Red Death, a brutal disease that refuses to stop spreading, does not stop the rich from having a good time. In the midst of the chaos of fighting this plague, Prince Prospero decides to host an enormous party for his wealthy noble friends. After all, don’t they deserve to celebrate after having avoided the Red Death for so long? This extravagant event is a grand experience- that is, until one mysterious guest causes everything to go horribly, terribly wrong.
This short story is really interesting to read when one considers the recent media coverage that the Ebola outbreak has been receiving. To me, western countries today resemble the partying nobles in the story- ignorant, unappreciative, forever in denial that there are serious issues in the world that need to be confronted. As an American, I do often feel as though I should be doing more to help those living in undesirable circumstances. It just goes to show that Poe’s work is still incredibly relevant and important in modern-day society.
As for the story itself, I thought it was absolutely brilliant. The set up of the different colored rooms in the house is executed perfectly, and you really get a feel for how ignorant and foolish the nobles are. Throughout the entire story I sensed that something bad was going to happen, but I had no idea how it would manifest itself. The suspense builds up all the way until the very end until the epic conclusion. I sat there for a few moments after I finished it going OH. MY. GOODNESS.
The Masque of the Red Death definitely gets two thumbs up from me!