Literary Analysis Essay on "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe

Paper Type:  Literature review
Pages:  2
Wordcount:  518 Words
Date:  2022-08-03


The story "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe is a mystery. The main character, the narrator, is not known much. The narrator didn't reveal his name or other details that one would normally look for in the biography of the main character of the story. It might be a mystery to the reader that the crime committed by the narrator was not revealed. A reading of the story will reveal more about the character, which in turn gives readers an idea of the horror and fear that grips him throughout his experiences under the Inquisition.

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The reader is not told about the author's personal history or the crime that led to his imprisonment. The fact that the narrator seems to be writing down his past experiences or recounting them immediately indicates that he was able survive the punishment. Yet, despite this assurance, all parts of the narrator’s recollection of his experiences show that he was clueless about where he was taken and what was in store for him there. This gives the impression that danger is always present. The narrator seems to be trying to make the readers feel what he felt. It seems that the narrator is trying to get sympathy from those who can relate to his experiences, possibly because they are now part of his mental archive and will be a constant part of his life.

The story takes place in Toledo, a city in central Spain. The harrowing story of the narrator is set in a dark prison with a swinging pendulum and a pit at its center. In a wider context, the Spanish Inquisition was when heresy was treated harshly and those who were found guilty could face death or severe pain. It seems reasonable to assume that the narrator was accused of heresy, even though there is no explicit statement about it in the story.

The setting is notable for Poe's descriptions about the harsh environment in which the narrator was placed. The prison cell was very dark and filled with rats. Also, the walls of the prison are made of iron rather than clay. The prison walls were filled with images that caused fear in the eyes. It is easy to get the impression that the narrator was in a place where death was within reach and hope shining down is nearly impossible.


The setting and the responses of Poe to his descriptions of his surroundings are the main reasons why Poe's story incites fear in the reader. Although certain sections of the story seem to be based on real-world events and objects, it is important to remember that the story is fiction.

Poe details the predicament of Poe's narrator, including the section where the hot iron wall and swinging pendulum nearly ended his life. The readers feel as though they are in the same place as Poe's descriptions. The combination of descriptions of the setting and the main character's predicament amplifies the fear that readers feel when they read the story.


Poe, E. A. (2008). The Pit and the Pendulum: Quill Pen classics.

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Literary Analysis Essay on "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe. (2022, Aug 03). Retrieved from

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