What Is the Theme of "The Masque of the Red Death"?

The theme in Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Masque of the Red Death" is the inevitability of death. Life ends regardless of how hard people try to evade it.

Prince Prospero goes through great pains to try to escape death. He surrounds his castle with iron gates and his property is "amply provisioned" to prevent any disease or infection from living within the area. While Prospero tried to prevent death from living inside his fortress, death lingered outside. What was once a lovely place to enjoy lavish parties became a prison for the prince and his guests. Essentially, Prospero created a tomb for himself and his guests. In short, Prospero's hard work to create the perfect environment was futile. The seven rooms in the castle represent "seven stages of one's life, from birth to death," according to Martha Womack of The Poe Decoder. This notion makes sense, as everyone present will find their fate somewhere in the castle. The prince's name suggests happiness, but his life ends as all life ends. The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore points out how Poe hints that death always wins by making death the narrator in the story. This contributes to the irony of the story because Prospero believes he is in control, but in reality he is simply handing himself and his guests over to the Red Death.