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Masque Analysis Answers
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4. Find the following symbols and state the possible meaning of each: Prospero, the clock, east and west, the abbey, room colors.
Prospero: Prospero's name is an obvious allusion to the word Prosperity or Prosperous: the condition of being successful or thriving; especially : economic well-being. While Prospero is thriving at the beginning of the story, Poe creates irony when the Red Death is able to sneak into the party and kill the "most prosperous" man in the kingdom. Although Prospero thinks he is wealthy enough to escape death, he isn't.
The Clock: The ebony clock: The clock symbolizes the passage of time, the onset of death, and the life of the party goers (revellers). Poe builds the symbol by giving details on how the party stops and the partiers get nervous every time they hear the clock chime, and he finishes the meaning of the symbol when he states "And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay." The clock stops when life stops.
East and West: East brings the sunrise, meaning that the sunrise is a symbol for birth. West brings the sunset which is a symbol for the end of life, or death.
The Abbey: An Abbey is a place where monks and nuns would go to devote their lives to God and live a life of selflessness, devotion to helping other people, and live a life apart from possessions and wealth. The irony is that Prospero has his gluttonous party to protect himself in an abbey, a place built to be separate from the kind of life Prospero lived.
Room Colors: The rooms are each representative of different sins. The Further into the rooms you go the level of sins is worse than before. The last room, the black room with blood-colored windows represents pride, the greatest of sins. This room is also where the ebony clock is located that brought such sorrow to Prospero’s party.

5. Identify the irony of the following details:
a. Prospero locks himself in an abbey
b. The narrator's description of Prospero as "happy and dauntless and sagacious"
c. Prospero's name
6. Characterization: Offer descriptive adjectives for Prospero and Prospero's hale and light-hearted friends

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