‘The Masque of the Red Death’ isn’t just about a plague, but about privileged people like Prince Prospero who have barricaded themselves away from the goings-on and the ravaging of the disease. Instead these people while away the time in an abbey and focus on frivolous parties, gaieties and the beauty of his rooms decorated in such artificial and (at least to me) ugly manners (as to the Prince it is beauty).
This story probably has a moral somewhere reminiscent of the rich thinking they are better, perhaps able to avoid the plights of the world and live in their little worlds alone … but human-made beauties and frivolity isn’t king. No man is king of death, and that is what is ultimately faced in this story. And let’s face it, death can never be beaten.
I found this story less creepy and terrifying and more moralistic in that sense. There is still poetry in the writing, but perhaps because I could not relate to the characters (knowing I would probably have been outside the abbey than within if I had been there) I could not really enjoy the tale as much as others of Poe’s I have read.
But if you are interested in other works Poe is well-known for, check out titles such as 'The Fall of the House of Usher', 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue' or even his poetry such as 'The Conqueror Worm' that will send chills down your spine.