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Foreshadowing in The Masque of the Red Death

Foreshadowing Examples in The Masque of the Red Death:

The Masque of the Red Death

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"for the night is waning away;..."   (The Masque of the Red Death)

Time's prominent presence creates a sense of mystery regarding what the passage of time is building towards. This line foreshadows that revelation as it specifies that the masquerade is happening at night and that the “night is waning away,” establishing the destination as midnight, which marks the end of one day and the beginning of the next. The ticking of the clock transforms from a general reminder into a countdown.

"But, in spite of these things, it was a gay and magnificent revel...."   (The Masque of the Red Death)

“The Masque of the Red Death” oscillates between descriptions of unease and descriptions of revelry. The more extravagant descriptions of parties and decorations emphasize the terror and tension that underlies the festivities. Readers already know that the “gay and magnificent revel” is a facade meant to provide a distraction from the clock and the Red Death. The title of the story foreshadows that the Red Death will make its appearance at the “masque.” Narrative tension builds to the inevitable appearance of the Red Death; it is only a matter of when it will arrive.

"half depopulated,..."   (The Masque of the Red Death)

Though the narrative shifts away from its focus on the Red Death in favor of recounting Prospero’s attempts to circumvent it, symbols and reminders of death permeate the entire story. “The Masque of the Red Death” has been read as an allegory for the inescapability of death and the foolishness of trying to avoid it. This is foreshadowed in the title and the opening of the story, both of which emphasize the Red Death itself rather than Prospero. Though Prospero and his friends provide the action for the story, readers are told from the beginning that the Red Death is the true subject.

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