Pit and The Pendulum
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Research papers on The Pit and the Pendulum point out Edgar Allan Poe immediately grabs the reader's attention by announcing that he is sentenced to death. He wastes no time in setting the tone for which he is so famous--one of Gothic horror, the macabre, and gloom and doom. Poe gives the readers no choice but to vicariously experience the narrator's horrifying situation in the The Pit and the Pendulum by writing in the first person. Readers sense a happy ending, though, by observing Poe's use of past tense. He uses the verb construction "I saw" fifteen times, for example, and the construction "I felt" nine times, so there is no room for analysis or intellectualizing in The Pit and the Pendulum. The narrator's horror is materializing quickly, and the reader also "sees" and "feels" the same sense of growing terror as the narrator is experiencing. Research papers demonstrate Poe's literary deftness at work in The Pit and the Pendulum.
Toward the end of The Pit and the Pendulum, as the plot reaches its climax, Poe's use of verbs become more varied and colorful in order to mimic the narrator's growing sense of terror and fear of death. He moves from the repetitious "I saw"s and "I felt"s to more descriptive, stronger verbs that he uses only once or twice. "I thrust my arms wildly above and around me in all directions," he writes, for example, as the narrator tries to make sense of his surroundings. A few lines down, "I at once started to my feet, trembling convulsively in every fibre," and then he tells us that "Perspiration burst from every pore." He moves from the general to the specific.
"The Pit and the Pendulum" uses imagery, like that of "The Cask", that is apocalyptic and Biblical in reference. The narrator, who is being sentenced to death by the Inquisition, observes seven candles that transform into seven angels. This is clearly a reference to Revelation 1.12-14. Jeanne Malloy argues that "by beginning the tale with the narrator's trial and death sentence and by couching these events in apocalyptic imagery, Poe heralds the narrator's, and hence the reader's, entrance into a nightmare world of punishment, dissolution, and death, an announcement amply fulfilled by the violence, pain and horror experienced by the narrator in his prison cell."Edgar Allan Poe's usage of symbolism within his stories and poems creates more depth for the reader. This essay has shown how in three different stories - "The Cask of Amontillado", "The Imp of the Perverse" and "The Pit and the Pendulum" - this imagery is both distinct and successful. It is distinct by Poe's usage of symbolism with references to history and Biblical verses, with language and tone, and with imagery, and it is successful because it adds to the reader's understanding of the text. Poe signified much when he wrote and this symbolism is one of the key ingredients that makes his one of the most revered bodies of work in literary history.