“The Masque Of The Red Death” and the prescience of Edgar Allen Poe

As I sit here, telling myself that the mild discomfort I’m feeling this morning is not one of the early symptoms of COVID-19 and idly letting Twitter drip-feed me other people’s disappointment and despair at the failure of leadership and suppression of the facts in the US and the UK, I found my mind returning to Edgar Allen Poe’s parable, “The Masque Of The Red Death”. So, I went HERE and re-read it.

It didn’t take long. It’s a short but powerful piece tells the story of Prince Prospero who, as a plague, The Red Death, kills most of the people in his country, retreats with a thousand friends and various entertainers into a fortified Abbey, They lock out the Red Death, disregard the passing of time and distract themselves with various pleasures. The Red Death finally comes for them in the midst of a lavish Masque and everyone dies.

Part of the power of parables like this is that you find in them what you’re looking for to make them relevant.

This time, I found myself reading the descriptions of Prince Prospero and seeing Trump and Johnson. I’ve put the quotes in the graphic below.

Trump and Johnson, like Prospero, deny and avoid and indulge and protect only those who fawn upon them. They hurt us all.

I find myself wishing that they soon hear midnight strike and meet their own Red Death.

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