Reflection Questions on “Masque of the Red Death”
1. What is the setting for the story?
-This story takes place in Prince Prosperos' Castle before the 18th century.
2. What is the mood instilled in the reader?
-A mood of terror is instilled in the reader.
Definition of Irony
Irony is a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. It may also be a situation that may end up in quite a different way than what is generally anticipated. In simple words, it is a difference between the appearance and the reality.
Types of Irony
On the grounds of the above definition, we distinguish two basic kinds of irony i.e. verbal irony and situational irony. A verbal irony involves what one does not mean. When in response to a foolish idea, we say, “what a great idea!” it is a verbal irony. A situational irony occurs when, for instance, a man is chuckling at the misfortune of the other even when the same misfortune, in complete unawareness, is befalling him.
Difference between Dramatic Irony and Situational Irony
Dramatic irony is a kind of irony in a situation, which the writers frequently employ in their works. In situational irony, both the characters and the audience are fully unaware of the implications of the real situation. In dramatic irony, the characters are oblivious of the situation but the audience is not. For example, in “Romeo and Juliet”, we know much before the characters that they are going to die. In real life circumstances, irony may be comical, bitter or sometimes unbearably offensive.
We come across the following lines in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, Act I, Scene V.
“Go ask his name: if he be married.
My grave is like to be my wedding bed.”
Juliet commands her nurse to find out who Romeo was and says if he were married, then her wedding bed would be her grave. It is a verbal irony because the audience knows that she is going to die on her wedding bed.
Fortunato means “lucky one” in Italian. This is ironic because he is not so fortunate at the end of the story.
I posted a video on YouTube about how boring and useless YouTube is.
The name of Britain’s biggest dog was “Tiny”.
You laugh at a person who slipped stepping on a banana peel and the next thing you know, you slipped too.
Function of Irony
Like all other figures of speech, Irony brings about some added meanings to a situation. Ironical statements and situations in literature develop readers’ interest. Irony makes a work of literature more intriguing and forces the readers to use their imagination and comprehend the underlying meanings of the texts. Moreover, real life is full of ironical expressions and situations. Therefore, the use of irony brings a work of literature closer to the life.
3. What irony takes place in the story? List them.
-Prince Prospero throws a party because he believes he has not be claimed by the plague, but in the end he dies from the plague.
-The color of the rooms represent the colors a person turns while having the plague.
-Prince Prosperos' name is ironic because he was not prosperous at the end of the story.
4. What significance do colors play in the tale?
-The colors signify the different colors and stages a person turns when having the plague.
5. What does the clock symbolize? What does the chiming of the clock interrupt? What does this remind the people of?
-The clock symbolized the passing of time leading to death. The chiming of the clock interrupted the party. This reminded the people of their mortality.
6. Based on what they are trying to avoid, why is it so unacceptable that someone is dressing up like Death?
-The people were throwing a party celebrating life and life without the plague, and someone dressing up like death puts a damper on the mood by reminding everyone of the death that is happening outside the castle (the death from the plague).
Definition of Style
The style in writing can be defined as the way a writer writes and it is the technique which an individual author uses in his writing. It varies from author to author and depends upon one’s syntax, word choice, and tone. It can also be described as a voice that readers listen to when they read the work of a writer.
7. In what manner of style does the narrator tell this story? What does the narration sound like?
-The narrator tells this story in 1st person, it ultimately sounds like a fairytale (giving someone a lesson).
8. What do you notice different from this story’s narrative style and the one found in “Cask of Amontillado”?
-In the "Masque of the Red Death" it is told as a fairytale to teach us a lesson, while in the "Cask of Amontillado" the narrator was confessing and bragging about what he did 50 years back.
9. What moral might “Masque” be suggesting?
-The moral of this story is no one escapes death.
10. Evaluate the level of horror in this story. Are there elements that make it scary, or is the story outdated?
-This story does frighten me, because it can be reflected onto every disease and illness we have. A real world based situation would be Ebola, Swine-Flu, Cancer, ect. all of these illness can be synonymous to the red death.