Comparison of Edgar Allan Poe's Narratives example

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Comparison of Edgar Allan Poe's Narratives

With several narrative distinctions, both writings by Edgar Allan Poe – “The Masque of the Red Death” and “The Cask of Amontillado” are set against the common gothic background and apply a symbol of a mask allowing the author to interpret the topic of drastic, unexpected death within the poetics of carnival opposites. Additionally, in the first case death is seen as a logic outcome of human being on a universal level, while in the second one it is depicted as a trap for a man.

Both narrative strategies introduced an option to depict the problem of death in the lights of meticulous and insightful combination of objective reason and highly irrational emotion that takes over human mind turning a person into a victim of one’s own fears and passions (Perkins, 306). In both narratives Poe used his favorite gothic setting that enables to draw the picture in mournful and depressive colors. Indeed, at the beginning of “The Masque of the Red Death” the urban situation is drawn blatantly and fatally: “The “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood” (Poe, 319). However, Poe continues his story with a coloristic and emotional contrast, pointing to the fact that “the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious” (Poe, 319). As a matter of fact, the reckless Prince is suggestive of another hero who would be trapped in Death as well, i.e. dizzy and distracted, wearing a costume of a jester with jingling bells on it.

However, at the end of the story the atmosphere of the Italian carnival is totally ruined by the ambiance of the catacombs, where Montresor had led his victim. As far as we can see, the catacombs are damp and suggestive of irreversible human immorality to the extent that the cruel murderer himself feels “sick at heart” (Poe, 12). Conclusively, in both cases Poe engages the strategy of a grotesque contrast, since at the beginning the characters are determined to overcome circumstances. As well the Prince Prospero, poor Fortunato (interestingly and ironically, both names symbolize exclusively positive aspects of human being, such as prosperity and luck), are determined to escape from death: Prospero by tricking it over (in this terms he reminds of the ancient mythological Sisyphus who was trying to play over Thanatos, the god of death), and Fortunato by a blind and desperate belief that his enemy is joking at him.

As we can see, both fail in their desperate attempts. Importantly, in both stories Poe uses the technique of framing, according to which it is clear that the characters are doomed. In the story about the Prince’s mascaraed, the city is destined to die out, and the negative introduction basically embrace all the rest occurrences. In the story told by Montresor, it is clear that he is the …

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