“The Masque of the Red Death” – pg. 372
Symbolism – writer’s use of symbols. A symbol is a character, a place, a thing, or an
event in a literary work that stands for a larger idea.
Allegory – a story in which all characters, settings, events and actions are clearly
symbolic. (The Scarlet Letter, SpongeBob)
Can progress be made without conflict?
Activating Prior Knowledge
What are ways that people protect themselves from diseases?
Is it possible to avoid sickness entirely
The main character in the story uses extreme measures to try to protect himself
from a fatal disease.
During Reading Activity
As you read, look for descriptions of how the partygoers behave. Mark these
descriptions with a post-it flag from the highlighter provided.
(As a class) Draw blueprints of the floor plan of the rooms in which Prince Prospero
receives his guests. Label each room with its predominant color and the manner in
which no room is visible to the next. (p. 375)
What effect might these rooms have on the people who are in them?
Symbolism t-chart (p. 377) and Literary Analysis (p. 378)
Poe’s Use of Symbols
Objects What they mean
Revelers (people wandering)
After reading this story, re-evaluate your earlier perspectives. Do you still think it’s
possible to avoid sickness entirely?
Would you like the prince as a friend? Explain.
What message does Poe convey about attempting to avoid conflict? Explain your
In the story, the uninvited guest might be interpreted as a symbol of death.
a. Describe two responses of the partygoers to the stranger.
b. Explain how these responses are similar to ones associated with death.
c. Identify two other details supporting this interpretation of the stranger.