Gothic Elements in Two Stories

The Gothic style usually revolves around the darker elements of human nature. The two short stories, “The Masque of the Red Death”, by Edgar Allen Poe and “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”, by Nathaniel Hawthorne are both gothic. They have differences and similarities.

“The Masque of the Red Death” is Gothic because it contains Gothic elements. The ebony clock in the story told time which represents the time the people had left before their deaths. Another symbol is the seven rooms in different colors.

These rooms represented the days the people had left. The very last room described in the story was black, which symbolizes death. Both the rooms and the clock tell us time to when the people at the party are going to die.

Gothic style includes horror and it is symbolized in this story using the stranger who later appeared at the party. The stranger’s appearance was terrorizing and scary and he ended up killing everyone. Death, horror, and dark elements were included.

This allegory teaches a lesson that no matter how rich a person is, he or she can’t escape death.

“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” is also Gothic but a little different from “The Masque of the Red Death”. The story starts with Dr. Heidegger inviting his four old friends over for an experiment. In the past, the three men used to fight over the one woman who was one of the friends there. The doctor takes out an old rose which was dark and withered.

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The Gothic elements in this story are the book shelf described in the study and the old rose. They are dark and gloomy. The doctor’s so-called experiment was to test his Fountain of Youth, but really, he’s testing to see if he gave these four people a second chance, would they cherish it. He learned that people are never satisfied and never learn from their past experiences. After they drank the water, they became young again and went back to their old ways. But because of what they did, the magic ended.

These two stories are different but they have some similarities. Both of these stories include Gothic elements such as horror, death, and the supernatural. The settings are both taken place in a strange and dark place which gives you an uncomfortable feeling. The rooms and people that are described by the authors are similar in some ways. In these two stories, the characters are all avoiding death, except for Dr. Heidegger. Prince Prospero tries to escape death and the four friends of Dr. Heidegger wanted to live their lives again and not wanting to become old. Both these stories teach a valuable lesson.

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Gothic Elements in Two Stories. (2023, Feb 13). Retrieved from

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