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West Virginia State University

College of Professional Studies: Department of Education

Lesson Plan Format
Teacher Candidate: Jennifer Herscher____________________Date: 10/29/2018_____________
School: St. Albans High School__________________________ Grade/Subject: English 12______
Lesson Topic: Allegory in The Masque of the Red Death_________________________


1. Students will be able to identify symbolism within an allegory.
2. Students will be able to determine the abstract message or lesson behind an allegorical story.

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a variety of literary texts, including figurative and
connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with
multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as
other authors.)

Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many
dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on
their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of
other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter
correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

During the introduction, ask students the following questions:
“What is an allegory?”
“What is the difference between an allegory and symbolism?”

Formative Assessment
 After reading the story, ask students to summarize what happened to assess their understanding.
 As a class, complete the four larger squares in the graphic organizer with the main four symbols in the
story. Student participation and non-verbal queues will provide informal-formative assessment of

Collect the graphic organizer worksheets at the end of class to assess each student’s ability to identify the
lesson or message within the allegory.


Overall Time: 60 min

Time Frame: 5 min – introduction
20 min – audio book/read
5 min – reader response
25 min – graphic organizer and 7 rooms card activity
5 min – closure


Learning Styles:
Visual – Following along with the text
Auditory – Audiobook
Kinesthetic – Using the graphic organizer
Tactile – Arranging the cards to represent the 7 rooms

Learning Ability:
Higher-level – Encouraged to identify additional examples symbolism in the story
Lower-level – Working in pairs

Write the word “Masque” on the board and ask what it means.
Explain that the word has two meanings:
1. a form of amateur dramatic entertainment, popular among the nobility in 16th- and 17th-
century England, which consisted of dancing and acting performed by masked players.
2. variant spelling of mask
Tell the students that they will be reading Poe’s short story, The Masque of the Red Death.
Just like the word “masque”, Poe’s story has two meanings or messages.
Ask students the following:
“What is an allegory?”
“What is the difference between an allegory and symbolism?”
 An allegory uses a narrative in its entirety to express an abstract idea or lesson,
typically a moral or political one.
 A symbol, on the other hand, is an object that represents something else, giving it a
particular meaning.
Explain that we can use a story’s symbols as puzzle pieces to help decipher the allegorical message/lesson.

Give students the option to either view the text on their iPad (using the link below) or take a printed copy.


 Tell students to follow along with the text as they listen to the audio reading from YouTube.
Remind them to pay attention to detail and watch for potential symbolism.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A69P-Lcikzw (18:13)

 Near the end of the story, pass out the graphic organizer worksheets.
Give each pair of students one set of colored cards (a card for each of the 7 rooms from the story)

 Readers response: ask students to share their initial reaction/response to the story
Assess their understanding by asking them to summarize the events of the story
 As a class, complete the four larger squares in the graphic organizer with the main four symbols in the
story. Students should fill in each square with details about what that symbol represents.
1. Prince Prospero: wealth, royalty, opulence, greed, prosperity
2. The 7 Rooms: do the card activity (see below)
3. The Ebony Clock: the constant progression of life
4. The Strange Guest: death/the read death

 The Card Activity: Symbolism of the 7 rooms

Color – blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet, black
 See if the students think of it first. If not, make the connection to the 7 deadly sins
 Write them all on the board (pride, gluttony, greed, envy, lust, wrath, sloth)
 Assign a sin to each pair and tell them to write it on a card along with a sentence or two
explaining how it is represented in the story.
pride arrogance; believes he can cheat death
greed helps those who need it least and withholds from those in need
envy it is unclear who the Prince might envy
gluttony lavishes guests with "ample provisions" and "the appliances of pleasure."
lust "wonton" behavior
wrath rage at the strange guest
sloth months of leisure and luxury
 As they share, the other students will listen and complete their other cards

Arrangement – east to west; cannot see from one room into the next
 Tell students to refer back to the story if needed and arrange their cards in order like the
 Talk about the symbolism of east to west – sunrise to sunset – birth to death
 On the smart board, display the “All the world’s a stage” part of As You Like It by
Shakespeare. Tell the students to work in pairs to identify each of the 7 stages of life and
write them on the correct room card.
1 infant
2 school-boy
3 lover
4 soldier
5 justice
6 pantaloon
7 2nd childishness & oblivion

 Instruct students to return to their graphic organizers and fill in the second large square.

 Once the four larger squares are complete, tell students to work together to fill in the smaller squares
with other examples of symbolism that might be relevant to the overall allegory.
The Red Death – the end of feudalism
The Castle – attempts
The Masques – attempts to hide from death
The Revelers – people/society, particularly those who desire wealth
 When all of the squares have been completed, instruct students to connect the symbols to determine
the overall lesson/message of Poe’s allegory and write it in the center circle of the graphic organizer.
 Death is inescapable
 Death does not discriminate
 Death comes for us all

Remind students that symbols are the puzzle pieces of an allegory.
Instruct them to read “The Pardoner’s Tale” from The Canterbury Tales before class on Wednesday.
Encourage students to look for symbols and a possible allegory as they read.

Collect the graphic organizer worksheets at the end of class to assess each student’s ability to identify the
lesson or message within the allegory.


iPads (students)
Printed copies of the text https://www.ibiblio.org/ebooks/Poe/Red_Death.pdf
Printed copies of the graphic organizer
Colored cards (6 sets of 7)
Pencils and pencils
Smart board
Shakespeare’s As You Like It (“All the world’s a stage…”)
Link to audiobook on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A69P-Lcikzw

If Student Finishes Early
Instruct him or her to look for additional examples of symbolism in the story that support the allegory. (The
hallway, the fireplaces, etc.)

If Lesson Finishes Early

Discuss connections between The Masque of the Red Death and The Canterbury Tales. (The plague, feudalism)

If Technology Fails
Write Shakespeare’s stages of life on the white board
Read the story aloud



Data Based Decision Making (If Needed)