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In "The Masque of the Red Death", Poe leads one event into another often. He uses much symbolism, and in the paragraphs below, I will show you it. In the first couple of paragraphs however, I will summarize the plot and state the theme. In this plot, Poe begins by talking about the Red Death, basically setting the stage for later events in the story. Then, he talks about Prince Prospero, which tells the reader …

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…how hard you try. In the story, Prospero tried to escape it, and look what happened. In other words, don't try to run away from death, you're only delaying the inevitable. In the story, the irony was that the man's name was Prince Prospero. His last name sounds like "prosperous," which means to achieve success. The fact that Prospero dies shows that he is not prosperous as his name suggests; he is in fact unlucky.