The Pit And The Pendulum By Edgar Allan Poe

2062 words - 8 pages

In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Pit and the Pendulum,” written 1843, and “using the anguish of imminent death as the means of causing the nerves to quiver” (Edgar Allan Poe, 2015), he takes the reader into the mind of a man who is tortured by various means by some unknown person or persons for reasons that are not given. The themes of death and time are portrayed strongly in this story and produce a sense of anxiety and uncertainty. “The first- person narration, in which the ‘I’ remains unnamed, causes the reader to identify with the protagonist” (Myers 1922). I feel that the narrator remains unnamed for the reason of not giving information that would further distract the reader from the details and emotions of the pit itself, and not to be biased in any way. Most of the story takes place inside a type of prison cell that the narrator, who is the only prisoner, was placed in after some kind of trial. Because the amount of consciousness that the narrator has comes and goes, his seemingly dreamlike state hinders his ability to make accurate judgements, comprehend his situation, and decide how to best get out of his ever-changing torturous environment. Through the narrator’s almost hopeless states of madness and his shimmering rays of hope and decision making, the reader feels compelled to understand how the narrator got into this pit and how he would ever be able to be free given that his tormentors are ever vigilant and always prepared to bring a new device to try to end the narrator’s life.

When the “narrator discusses how the unconscious mind provides a glimpse into the gulf beyond,” this shows how Poe can try to explain how the imagination can work, and how it can interact with rational thought processes of a fully conscious mind (Bloom 69). When the narrator is sentenced to death, that is the last conscious utterance he hears for quite some time. During his sentencing the narrator seems to be in a drowsy state possibly from being drugged or just from being tired and feeling his fate is out of his control. As the narrator dozes but believes that he is still in some state of consciousness, he has feelings of being transported down or is descending into a horrible place during his loss of attention. When the narrator says, “Very suddenly there came back to my soul motion and sound-the tumultuous motion of the heart, and, in my ears, the sound of its beating,” I feel that this invokes a sense of wellbeing in every reader (Poe 247). This expression, a reader can also paint a perfect picture of. When for instance I lay in bed when all is quiet, I can hear and even feel the never ending beat of my heart and it can be a great overwhelming feeling of knowing that I am alive, am living for a reason maybe not yet known. As the narrator awakens he does not open his eyes for fear of what he might or might not see. The attention to detail that Poe gives the reader about how the narrator tries to understand his new surroundings brings...

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