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The Pit and the Pendulum | Study Guide

Edgar Allan Poe

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The Pit and the Pendulum | Infographic

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Edgar Allan Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

the-pit-and-the-pendulum-edgar-allen-poe_V4Narratorong suffering had nearly annihilated all my ordinary powers of mind. I was an imbecilean idiot.Sources: Cornell University Library, Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, Encyclopaedia Britannica, PBS, “Poes Literary Labors and Rewardsby John Ward Ostrom, The Portable Edgar Allan Poe edited by J. Gerald Kennedy Copyright © 2017 Course Hero, Inc.Year the Spanish Inquisition began 1478Amount Poe was paid for The Pit and the Pendulum$38Year the French army arrived in Toledo, where the story takes place1880Perimeter in yards of the prisoners cell 25The Pit and the Pendulumby the NumbersA prolific writer of poetry, short stories, and literary criticism, Poe made little money during his lifetime but established a legacy with his horror writing. Over the centuries, his work has maintained the power to unsettle readers by questioning reality and playing on peoples biggest fears—like imprisonment and torture.EDGAR ALLAN POE1809–49AuthorPitSignifies the unknowable nature of death and the unconsciousCellRepresents the mysterious, unalterable conditions of lifePendulumSymbolizes the inevitability of time and deathSymbolsFEED & TORTURERESCUESCONDEMNNarratorUnnamed prisoner of the Inquisition; outmaneuvered by torturersJudgesIntimidating, distorted officials of the InquisitionGeneral LaSalleFrench general; saves the narrator from the pitInquisitorial Agents Shadowy prison guards; agents of the InquisitionMain CharactersConsciousnessThe narrator struggles with the desire to escape reality in sleep while fearing the nothingness that losing consciousness could bring.ConfinementHemmed in by the walls of his cell, darkness, and leather bonds, the narrator has a growing sense of terror.Reason vs. MadnessThe narrator tries to deal with his situation rationally, but terror drives him to the brink of madness.THEMESAn Odyssey of TortureSentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition, a prisoner is condemned to an oppressive, stifling, dark cell and its terrors. Can he avoid the bottomless pit, the ravenous rats, and the razor-sharp pendulum—before he goes mad?EnglishOriginal Language1842Year PublishedEdgar Allan PoeAuthorThe Pit andthe PendulumHorrorShort Story

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