After eating what he thinks must be drugged food, he faints. He struggles to capture this thought but finds his mind is useless with fear. Hope occurs to him again as a half-formed thought. At first the prisoner thinks that he is locked in a tomb, but then he discovers that he is in a cell.
Along with the movement of the pendulum, the narrator lets his hand wave over the empty plate and the rats nibble at it. Using his left hand, he takes what spicy food he is able to rescue from the rats and smears it all over the bandages that bind him.
Then his senses cut out, and he is filled with a shock-like sensation and the figures around him turn into angel-like ghosts. And while the French have abruptly saved the narrator from the inquisition, somehow there is little joy in it, and no celebration. It seems as though it is days before the pendulum comes so close to him that the "odor of the sharp steel forced itself into my nostrils," but eventually it does, and when the pendulum vibrates within only three inches of his breast, he calmly reasons that the pendulum will cut his bandages before it will cut him.
Poe gives his narrator qualities of wit and ingenuity, by showing his determination to carefully measure out the dimensions of the cell, but these qualities come to nothing when compared to the power the unknown foe has over him.
Active Themes The narrator of "Pit and Pendulum" watches the pendulum swaying back and forth, directly over his heart. The epigraph was not Poe's invention; such an inscription had been reported, no later thanas having been composed with the intention possibly facetious of having it placed on the site,  and it had appeared, without attribution, as an item of trivia in the Southern Literary Messengera periodical to which Poe contributed.
He decides to explore the cell by placing a scrap of his robe against the wall so that he can count the paces around the room, but he faints before he can measure the whole perimeter. Plot summary[ edit ] The unnamed narrator is brought to trial before sinister judges of the Spanish Inquisition. Active Themes The narrator of "Pit and Pendulum" is mesmerized by this motion for a minute but then gets distracted by some huge rats that have entered the cell apparently from the well in the center.
His "seared and writhing body" can stand it no more and as he lets out a piercing scream, suddenly there is a blast of trumpets and the walls roll back. He rubs the food from his plate all over the strap that is restraining his mobility. Before the narrator was tortured by not being able to see.
Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: One moment, he wishes for it to descend quicker so he can meet his end, the next moment, he struggles to free himself from his restraints.
The irregularity of the dungeon also exaggerates the idea of the unknown. A few steps more and he would have fallen to a horrible death.
Active Themes The narrator of "Pit and Pendulum" tries to figure out what has happened. Even though he is free, however, one horror follows another. He can now see the full size of the cell. Active Themes The narrator of "Pit and Pendulum" watches the pendulum swaying back and forth, directly over his heart.
His worst fear is realized — he can see nothing when he opens his eyes, everything is pitch black. Active Themes The narrator of "Pit and Pendulum" now realizes that while asleep he has been put on a wooden board and strapped down.
As he looks closer, he sees that the pendulum is moving, in a slow sweep. The narrator looks away from the ceiling, though, when he notices rats coming out of the pit and swarming around his food.
An idea occurs to him. The most unexpected aspect of the story is that it has a "happy ending"; the narrator is saved. In this place, there seem to be no rules. However, he is able to attract rats to him by smearing his bonds with the meat left for him to eat.
He then resumes his exploration of the prison, determining it to be roughly one hundred paces around. Upon waking, the narrator finds offerings of water and bread, which he eagerly consumes.
However, the essence of Romantic fiction is the unexpected, the bizarre, and the unusual see "Poe and Romanticism". In each of these narrow escapes, Poe pushes the narrator right to the last possible minute or inch, pushes him to the bring of death.
After swooning, the narrator awakens in total darkness; before opening his eyes, he imagines the horrors that await him.4 THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM who would save me; but then, all at once, there came a most deadly nausea over my spirit, and I felt every fibre in my.
Need help with The Pit and the Pendulum in Edgar Allan Poe's Poe's Stories? Check out our revolutionary side-by-side summary and analysis. Poe's Stories The Pit and the Pendulum Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes. "The Pit and the Pendulum" is one of those stories that had to be written in the first person.
If we weren't hearing the tale right from the source, it'd probably be a total bore. "The Pit and the Pendulum" is a simple story in that it pretty much goes right for the gut.
Poe definitely wants to communicate directly with his readers and make them feel what his narrator feels. Poe places the narrator/protagonist of "The Pit and the Pendulum" in a situation of bounded isolation: he cannot escape his surroundings nor can he directly communicate with anyone, even his.
The pendulum, he now sees, has a razor-like edge of steel and is attached to the ceiling by a brass rod. The narrator concludes to his horror that because he has managed to avoid their preferred form of punishment in the form of the surprise pit, his torturers have decided to find an alternative.Download