Masque Of The Red Death Critical Thinking Questions For Teens

A common activity for students is to create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of a plot, but to reinforce major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard that captures the concept of the narrative arc in a story by creating a six-cell storyboard which contains the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

Example “The Masque of the Red Death” Plot Diagram


Prospero is introduced in the time of the Red Death, a ravenous plague that is devastating his kingdom.

Major Inciting Conflict

Prospero believes that he and the nobles of his kingdom can escape death. Prospero invites all wealthy, unaffected people in his domain to barricade themselves in his castle, and throws a masquerade ball.

Rising Action

As guests arrive, they are bewildered and amused by the grandiose rooms that Prospero has created. Each room beginning from east to west is marked by a different color: blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet, and black with red windows. This last room is so disturbing that no one enters. Even more mysterious is a large ebony clock which chimes every hour, halting the exaltations of the party with its foreboding strike.


As the party goes on and the clock is about to strike midnight, an enigmatic guest appears, dressed as a plague victim.

Falling Action

Deeply disturbed by the guest's poor judgment, Prospero engages with the visitor, finally pursuing him with a dagger through the seven colored rooms. As he reaches the figure in the final room, he falls dead.


The other guests subdue the intruder and forcibly remove his mask, finding, to their horror, there is no one beneath the costume. They also die. The Red Death infiltrated the castle, despite Prospero’s efforts to escape it.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of “The Masque of the Red Death”.

  1. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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