Poe

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The plot and point of view used in Edgar Allen Poe's short story, "The Pit and the Pendulum," makes the book so enjoyable to readers because it brings out the many fears men have and make them seem as reality. Those fears include death and torture. The book, though, would not be as accomplished as it is if Poe had not used first person point of view. The combination of the fears used in the plot and the point of view make an unbelievable placing the reader in the story instead of making the reader just another spectator.

The point of view chosen by the author is very important to the success of the story. If the point of view does not flow with the story told, then the probability of that story being liked by readers is slim to none. In "The Pit and the Pendulum", Poe matches the point of view and the subject to best suit the readers interest.

He uses first person in the story creating a simulation when a reader reads the story. In other words, he makes the reader feel as if he is actually in the story. The vivid use of details Poe used for the character's explanations in the story adds to the placement of the reader into the story. Just as when he describes the pendulum overhead, "I now observed -- with what horror it is needless to say -- that its nether extremity was formed of a crescent of glittering steel, about a foot in length from horn to horn; the horns upward, and the under edge evidently as keen as that of a razor. Like a razor also, it seemed massy and heavy, tapering from the edge into a solid and broad structure above. It was appended to a weighty rod of brass, and the whole hissed as it swung through the air," one can clearly see in their mind the pendulum (297). Not only can one see what is written, but feel what is written also. The excerpt where the narrator describes the rats clearly point this out, "They pressed -- they swarmed upon me in ever accumulating heaps. They writhed upon my throat; their cold lips sought my own; I was half stifled by their thronging pressure; disgust, for which the world has no name, swelled my bosom, and chilled, with a heavy clamminess, my heart"(299). After reading "The Pit and the Pendulum," one will feel as if he had awakened from a nightmare because of how the point of view puts the reader inside the story.

Poe also uses two of the most feared possibilities of human nature in the plot to catch the reader's attention: fear of "…the dread sentence of death…" and torture (290). The description of death and torture not only interest the reader but also scares the reader. By doing so, the part of the population that like to read scary stories would definitely read Poe's story. In Poe's short story, the fears are accentuated by the point of view making the reader feel as if he is in the story and it is reality, which is also stated in the paragraph above. "…but then, all at once, there came a most deadly nausea over my spirit, and I felt every fibre in my frame thrill as if I had touched the wire of a galvanic battery, while the angel forms became meaningless spectres, with heads of flame, and I saw that from them there would be no help," This is one such example that Poe uses to set in the readers mind the concept of death (290). By starting out with the slight scare of death, Poe then heightens the scale of fright by introducing torture, "To the victims of its tyranny, there was the choice of death with its direst physical agonies, or death with its most hideous moral horrors. I had been reserved for the latter"(295). Now with the heightened scare, Poe's choice of words in the description of torture brings chills to it's readers as well as making the story more realistic by making the thoughts of the narrator similar to that of the readers if he were going through the same situation, "I trembled at the sound of my own voice, and had become in every respect a fitting subject for the species of torture which awaited me"(295). With the collection of feelings the reader gets from the fears that are described within the plot of "The Pit and the Pendulum," readers become satisfied after reading the story creating the success.

The success of Poe's short story is proven by the many years the story has prevailed as well as the circulation it has gotten, such as the story being in school literary books. The success the story has gotten is a direct proponent of the great use of the elements that are incorporated, plot and point of view that Poe used. His fantastic ability to bring the fears of the humankind along with the reality brought by his point of view used, first person, is the main reason for the success of "The Pit and the Pendulum," by Edgar Allen Poe.