Poe's Short Stories

Mask of Life and Death

Edgar Allen Poe created an interesting paradigm surrounding his theory on cosmic principle. He sees the universe as God's artistic creation dispersed among humankind. Artists, namely poets, bring together the universe by breaking free of their physical world and its correlating corruption and materialism. To do this, poets must use their imagination and delve deep into their minds to find the universe's original harmony. Poe's theory goes on to describe mankind's dualistic nature, where man is both spiritual and rational. The spiritual side draws on imagination, emotion, and creativity while the rational side remains terrestrial and distant from cosmic unity. Ultimately, poets can regain unity with the universe only through death. In Poe's "The Masque of Red Death," Prince Prospero attempts to rid himself of the Red Death by retreating into his mind. Prospero represents the spiritualistic side of the poet, and Red Death represents the earthbound rationality of life.

Prospero represents the spiritual mind of his character. Poe describes the spiritual poet as someone who seeks to rid himself of his materialistic reality by "looking inward to the depths of his mind" (Poe's Cosmology)....

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