Compose a 1250 words assignment on the theme of death. Needs to be plagiarism free! In contrast, the second story is a more prosaic tale of revenge and murder, with no overt allusions to the supernatural. The two protagonists, Montresor and Fortunato, are very human in character, and are portrayed in detail. There is ample dialogue and clear action. However, both the narratives share a common thread: the theme of death. “The Masque of the Red Death” ends with the death of Prince Prospero and his entire band of revelers, while the murder of Fortunato marks the climax of “The Cask of Amontillado.” Poe explores and heightens the theme of death in the two stories through the skilful use of atmosphere, emphasizing deaths’ various guises, and stressing its inevitability. The atmosphere created by the author is one of the main factors which heighten the horror of the narratives. “The Masque of the Red Death” takes place in a dream-like ambience. The author steadily builds up an effect of dread right from the start of the tale, by beginning with the gory description of the plague – the “Red Death,” which devastates the country. Poe continues to use dark language, with words like “horror” (1), “despair” (2), “ghastly,” “dark,” “wild” (4), “bizarre,” “terrible,” (7), and “terror” (8), liberally sprinkled over the narrative. The scene of the story is a secluded abbey. The masque is held at night. The darkness is further emphasized by the fact that there is “no light of any kind emanating from lamp or candle within the suite of chambers” (Poe, 4). There is a preponderance of the colour black. The seventh apartment, which is the scene of the story’s climax, is shrouded in black tapestries and carpets. Its “black hangings,” and “blood-tinted panes” (Poe, 4) are evocative of a horror that is waiting to happen. The somber mood is again emphasized by the “gigantic clock of ebony” (Poe, 5). The clock’s obvious monitoring of the passage of time, quickens the dread of the reader and heightens the suspense, as it approaches “the sounding of midnight” (Poe, 7). “The Cask of Amontillado” is no less sinister in its atmosphere. Here also, Poe begins on a note of impending doom, as Montresor declares in the very first paragraph, “I vowed revenge.” It is evident that ill fate awaits Fortunato. Unlike in “The Masque of the Red Death,” the language here is very casual. However, this very lightness of tone employed by Montresor, who is evidently bent on murder, gives an underlying note of deep morbidity to the narrative. In this story too, the action takes place in seclusion. The servants are missing, and Montresor and Fortunato are the only inhabitants of the scene. The setting is the underground vault of Montresor’s deserted palazzo: “the damp ground of the catacombs of the Montresors” (Poe, 25). There can be no more sinister scene of action than a crypt! Poe’s description encompasses “walls of piled bones” (51), the niter dripping from moist walls and a suffocating atmosphere. As the two men make their way to the scene of the murder, the description of their passage fans the rising dread: “We passed through a range of low arches, descended, passed on, and descending again, arrived at a deep crypt” (Poe, 67). As in “The Masque of the Red Death,” the time is dusk, and darkness pervades.


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