The Masque of the Red Death

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Illustration by Abigail Larson.

The Masque of the Red Death is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe and first published in 1842. It tells the tale of a prince who locks himself and all his friends behind the walls of an abbey to avoid becoming infected by a plague known as the red death.


I first read this story on 2017-11-14 as part of my goal to better familiarize myself with classic authors.


This story is in the public domain. I do not own a physical copy, but I have listened to an audio book.


— This section contains spoilers! —


  • The masquerader in the red death plague is a pretty interesting character.
  • The story has a pretty creepy plot.


  • Overall, I found the story to be kind of dull and predictable. The moment I read that the prince was trying to weather the plague by locking himself and his friends in an abbey, I knew they were all going to become infected, although I have to admit, the stranger in the masque is a nice touch.
  • I don't get how the prince dies in the end. Is it simply from attempting to touch the ghostly form?
  • I'm assuming Poe was trying to teach a moral lesson by punishing the wealthy prince for thinking he was above the plague and partying while everyone else was dying, rather than use his wealth to research a cure or treatment or at least be humbly thoughtful for his relative safety. However, holing up to prevent becoming infected is a wise decision.


  • Nothing.



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