The Masque of the Red Death and Young Goodman Brown

The Masque of the Red Death and Young Goodman Brown are both good stories that paint vivid images. Throughout these stories, both Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne evoke a sense of fear and death. Edgar Allan Poe tells us a story of a prince who believed he could save himself and his nobles by keeping them inside of his castle. However, Nathaniel Hawthorne tells us a story of a man who takes a “journey” with his conscience. Both authors use characterization, symbolism, imagery and allusions to portray fear and death. The Masque of the Red Death opens up with fear and death. Blood was its Avatar and its seal” (1); an avatar is a graphical image that represents a person. Here Edgar Allan Poe uses characterization to give us an idea of how horrible the Red Death is. This quote gives the Red Death life and death having life speaks LOUDLY for itself. In comparison, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses characterization gives the belief. faith, life in which Goodman Brown’s wife was faiths avatar. However Hawthorne uses characterization as symbols to evoke fear. When Hawthorne describes Faith he mentions pink ribbons.

A child wears ribbons and children, in most cases, are the representatives of innocence which is what these ribbons symbolize. “But something fluttered lightly down the air and caught the branch of a tree. The young man seized it, and beheld a pink ribbon. “‘My Faith is gone! ‘ cried he…” (5). Fear is the unpleasant feeling aroused by the threat of danger, evil or pain. In this quote it is clear that Young Goodman Brown is threatened by pain as well as evil. As Young Goodman Brown continues, “There is no good on earth and sin is but a name.

Come, devil, for thee is this world given. ” There is a great significance of Faith’s ribbons being found without her. This meant that his wife Faith, along with his faith is gone and it pained him. Faith is what is keeping Goodman Brown sane, assured, and secure in the forest. The forest is also another symbol Hawthorne uses to evoke fear. It represented danger, death. The forest was described as “a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest…” (1). Darkness is the color of death. In parallel Edgar Allan Poe also uses colors to represent death and summon fear.

However, he uses both an “ebony clock” and a seventh room to do so. “It was in this apartment, also, that there stood a gigantic clock of ebony” (2); as the ebony color of the clock represents death, the ebony clock on a whole symbolizes that time is running out and death is near. Poe also tells us in the story that at every hour the clock strikes and chimes; in these moments all things are still and the people who are in the masquerade suddenly snap back to reality and realizes what is going on. This representation exhibits fear and dear.

The seventh room also presents death and fear. Allan Poe described the seventh room to have the colors read and black; red representing blood and black representing death. Allan Poe also uses this room and its colors to give us a mental picture. Imagery is the use of figure of speech to create mental images. Poe paints a vivid picture of the seventh room and invokes a great sense of fear and death. Poe tells us that the room has “black velvet tapestries” (1) and the panes in the room “were scarlet – a deep blood color” (1).

This gives us a feel of how scary and over-whelming that room may be. In comparison, Hawthorne used the forest to paint a picture and to put us in a place where we felt the fear of danger and evil Goodman Brown feels. Allusion is also used by both authors in both stories. Allan Poe made reference to the Bubonic Plague that occurred in the early 1330s. This plague was a very vicious disease that killed off families, home, and populations. With knowledge of this plague readers can only imagine how horrified the characters in the story are whenever the clock strikes another hour.

Hawthorne, in contrast, made reference to the time of the puritans where they believed anything or anyone who is not pure is evil and wicked. In these times it was believed that a woman’s faith was her and her family’s way to heaven. “I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven” (1). This historical fact helps us to understand why Goodman Browns pain of losing Faith was such a great significance and manifested so much fear. With Faith gone and his faith gone his way to heaven, along with his family’s, was gone as well.

Both authors use references to the bible as well. Poe used the term pestilence in which he said, “No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous” (1). Pestilence is a plague and in Revelations 18:8 it reads, “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine. ” Also in Jeremiah 42:17 it reads, “So shall it be with all the men that set their faces to go into Egypt to sojourn there; they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: and none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring upon them. This reference shows how powerful the plague is and how much terror and fear is instilled in the characters of the story. Hawthorne, on the other hand, referred to the book of Job. Job was a man of God who obeys Gods every command and never spoke blasphemy. One day the devil asks the Lord to put Job’s faith to the test and God agreed. The devil everything away from Job and Job began to look to the heavens and asked God why this was happening to him. In Young Goodman Brown Goodman Brown “looked up to the sky, doubting whether there really was a heaven above him” (4).

This shows great fear that Goodman Brown felt at this point of the story. All in all though one author may have use more of a literary technique than the other, they both manifest the idea of fear and death in a great manner. These literary techniques, from characterization to allusion, all of these devices work together in some way. In both The Masque of the Red Death and Young Goodman Brown, both authors Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne used characterization, symbolism, imagery and allusion to personify death, indicate fear and pierce, to instill both a sense of fear and death, in a reader’s heart and mind.

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