As retail stores and restaurants tentatively start opening back up, you may be tempted to forego your mask and fully embrace this new freedom. However, we must remember to be responsible and keep ourselves and our neighbors safe. For inspiration, here are five masked characters from literature who would have had no problem keeping up with safety precautions!
1. Erik from The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Born with a birth defect that left his face horribly disfigured, Erik, more commonly known as The Phantom of the Opera, uses a mask to hide his ugliness. Blessed with a talent for music, he haunts the Paris Opera House and falls in love with a beautiful singer. When she doesn’t return his love, he does everything in his power to keep her with him, plunging the opera house into a nightmare.
2. The Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride by William Goldman
In this rollicking tale of love and adventure, two young lovers named Westley and Buttercup are separated when Westley goes away to seek his fortune. After his ship is attacked by the infamous Dread Pirate Roberts, Buttercup believes her true love to be dead and reluctantly agrees to marry someone else. Westley, however, survives and becomes the latest in a long line of pirates to adopt the name of Dread Pirate Roberts. When he returns home to find his true love wed to another, he hides behind a mask in order to find out if she still loves him.
3. V from V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
Set in a dystopian, fascist version of the United Kingdom, V for Vendetta tells the story of an anarchist revolutionary, named V, who hides behind a distinctive Guy Fawkes mask as he plots and schemes to bring down the government. Along the way he meets Evey who becomes his protege and together they take their revenge on the people who brought their country low.
4. The Prisoner from The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
Deep in the bowels of the Bastille languishes a mysterious prisoner whose face lies hidden behind an iron mask. When the three musketeers hear of this prisoner’s existence, they set off on a quest to discover his identity and right the wrongs that placed him in captivity. Who is the man in the iron mask? What is his crime? Not even the prisoner himself knows.
5. The Stranger from The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe
A horrible disease called the ‘red death’ terrorizes the country so Prince Prospero takes shelter in an abandoned abbey with his courtiers where they spend their days and nights making merry. Soon, however, the guests begin to notice a disturbing masked figure passing from room to room. Dressed in the “habiliments of the grave” and a blood-stained mask resembling the “countenance of a stiffened corpse”, the stranger strikes terror into the hearts of the guests. I will not spoil it by revealing the identity of this masked stranger but suffice it to say, Poe writes an ending to chill your very core.