E. A. Poe’s short story follows Prince Prospero and his friends’ futile attempt to outrun and outsmart a deadly plague, called the Red Death. The heart of the story is presented as a masquerade where the guests revel in mirth and intoxication, oblivious of the horrors that await them. The author’s narrative techniques revolve around symbolism (number seven, the clock, the black chamber) and provides an allegorical halo around the short story. Witnessing his wife’s suffering from tuberculosis and the ravages of cholera in Baltimore at the time, Poe imbues ”The Mask” with an air of veracity, but the supernatural reigns supreme.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American poet, author, and literary critic. Most famous for his poetry, short stories, and tales of the supernatural, mysterious, and macabre, he is also regarded as the inventor of the detective genre and a contributor to the emergence of science fiction, dark romanticism, and weird fiction. His most famous works include ”The Raven” (1945), ”The Black Cat” (1943), and ”The Gold-Bug” (1843).