The Pit and the Pendulum: The Slow Killing By Time

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

Edgar Allen Poe has a way of writing like no other. He uses darkness, suspense, and gloom to portray his scenes and plots. The Pit and the Pendulum is one of his many works that were written and loved by many. Edgar writes about the time called the Spanish Inquisition. During the Spanish Inquisition prisoners were tormented and tried for heresy. Poe writes through a narrator who is known as the prisoner in the story, he talks about his experience being tried.

Poe does not tell us why the prisoner is being tried all we are aware of is that he is in a room full of men. As mentioned before, we may assume the narrator is there because he has been found guilty of heresy, however; there is no way to be certain as Poe doesn’t mention as to why the man is there. Poe uses a symbol of seven candles during this story, the candles sit on a table slowly burning. The narrator mentions that as the candles slowly burn his hope of surviving diminishes. We then find out that he has been condemned to be put to death as punishment. He then is placed in a cell where on and off he faints for reasons unknown. In between the fainting events happen. He tries measuring the cell he is placed in.

He continues fainting randomly, awakening to food and water placed in the cell. He continues to try measuring the walls of his cell and discovers that it is 100 steps. While moving around his cell he accidentally trips on is robe falling to the floor. He looks just ahead of him and sees an endless pit of darkness. For if he would not have trip he would have fallen into the pit. He jokes as though that was the demon’s plan for him to fall into the abyss.

After regaining consciousness once more he is laying down facing the ceiling where he sees a picture that the narrator describes as Father Time. Attached to that is a pendulum which the narrator says is razor sharp swinging back and forth. The pendulum swings slowly getting closer and closer to our narrator supposedly killing him in certain time. An important detail the narrator makes is that he attracts rats to chew his ropes by using his left-over meat and is able to escape just in time from the pendulum. However, once he escapes the pendulum, he is faced with the walls closing in on him. The room because hot, burning. Just before being crushed he is pulled from the room. The French Army had taken over Toledo and the Inquisition. He heard trumpets and voices. He was overjoyed to be saved from the burning enclosing room. Happy to be saved from the punishment of his crime, whatever that may be.


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