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Masque Of The Red Death Critical Thinking Questions For High School

Summary of "The Masque of the Red Death"

The Red Death has wiped out half the population in Prince Prospero's kingdom. The Prince decides to do something about it: he builds a fortressed castle and invites a thousand friends to hang out there. He barricades the castle and closes all castle entrances and exits. The Prince wants his guests to forget about the Red Death and enjoy themselves, so he hires entertainers and musicians and throws extravagant parties.

He throws a huge masquerade, anything-goes party at which everyone is having a wonderful time, except when the giant ebony clock, located in the pitch black room with blood red windows, chimes each hour, causing the guests to get nervous and forget what they're doing (Why the Prince, who's trying to get people to forget about death, constructs a room of death with a giant clock that reminds everyone of death is beyond my literary intelligence).

The party's going great. The guests are enjoying and freaking out a bit over the Prince's august, yet eccentric, taste in interior design, when an intruder causes their revel to cease. The intruder was "tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave...His vesture was dabbed in blood and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror" (150).

The angry prince tries to kill the intruder and dies...along with everyone else at the party. "And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all." (151).

"The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe
Lesson plans and teaching resources

Interpreting Symbols in Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death": Symbolism and Themes
Analytical essay.

"The Masque of the Red Death"
Summary and analysis.

"The Masque of the Red Death"
Online text of the story.

"The Masque of the Red Death"
How might students use storyboards to demonstrate and to extend their learning? Check the resources here. Students work with plot diagram, themes, symbols, allegory, more. Note: Storyboard That helps sponsor this site.

"The Masque of the Red Death" vocabulary
35 words presented in context and with definitions. Click on a word for pronunciation, synonyms, examples of use, more.

Two In-Class Projects for Teaching "The Masque of the Red Death" in High School
In the first project, students create masks. In the second, they consider the possible symbolism of the 7 rooms.

"The Masque of the Red Death"
This Powerpoint presentation discusses symbolism and allegory. Students make a poster that illustrates one of the symbols.