The Pit and The Pendulum
Edgar Allan Poe’s Display of Medieval Features as Depicted in His Narrative, The Pit and the Pendulum
The Pit and the Pendulum Response
There are many aspects of gothic elements and motifs seen throughout the story of The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe. One of these elements is Terror, which is seen during and prior to his actual imprisonment. Before he sentenced to his confinement, he portrays his state of mind of fear and terror as he fears what will happen to him and how it will happen. The reader is also drawn in to how his sanity is being lost as he cannot comprehend what is happening. In the scene with the pendulum, his terror is also shown by how he struggles to break free from the ropes as the pendulum slowly drops lower and lower.
Another gothic element that is portrayed throughout the story is Entrapment and Imprisonment. This is seen when the narrator comes to his senses and is stuck in a dark cell. He fully describes his confinement in the cell and how his sanity is slowly shattering. This provides the reader with insight on how people at the time were frightened by such a dark room filled with nothing but a pit. These aspects are also seen as he is trapped under the pendulum struggling to break free and using whatever he can to keep himself alive. His sanity again is slowly dropping as he is getting closer and closer to death.
The narrator also experiences the gothic element of Claustrophobia in his confined cell. The readers can infer that the narrator is experiencing this claustrophobia because he constantly pacing back and forth throughout the dungeon examining the length of the room. As he continues to pace back and forth, he starts to feel more and more trapped in the dark cell. His fear is at it’s peak when the burning hot walls slowly cave in on him creating for fear for both the narrator and the readers.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Use of Excitement as Demonstrated in His Narrative the Pit and the Pendulum
Pit and the Pendulum
The Pit and the Pendulum creates a theme of suspense. Throughout the story, Poe develops an everlasting suspense until the execution. The story builds on the human mind’s craving for information. It does this by giving the reader the perspective of the prisoner, who doesn’t have any useful knowledge. Furthermore, when the narrator begins to describe his sufferings, he doesn’t get finish his thoughts. A quote from the story:
“The agony of suspense grew at length intolerable, and I cautiously moved forward, with my arms extended,and my eyes straining from their sockets in the hope of catching some faint ray of light.”
This little snippet of the story shows that even the narrator feels the suspense of events to happen to him, and when.Toward the middle of the story, while strapped to a wooden board and a sharpened pendulum swings ever so slowly toward him, threatening to cut his heart out. This scene took way longer than expected if a pendulum intended to swing with enough force to kill him, and in the process caused the readers to create themselves a suspense of imminent death. Then with a heart pounding “ending” to our narrator, he comes up with an ingenious idea, saving himself in the nick of time.
Leaning to the end, the walls start to painstakingly converge toward the pit, all the while pushing our narrator along with it. The readers realize that even though the walls move at a crawl we all know that in the end he will get pushed into his death, we hope in suspense that he can come up with another idea just in time, forcing the reader to keep going in order to know what happens.
At the very end: “I felt that I tottered upon the brink–I averted my eyes”
The paragraph’s ending left us all in suspense of a cliff hanger and left us feeling an urge to find out what happened.Throughout the entirety of the story Poe manipulates every element to create a sense of suspense.