The Pit And The Pendulium

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade April 2001

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Most readers know Edgar Allan Poe as a master of making a story more than it seems. Poe does this by using a few different literary devices, which create a different feeling to those that read his stories. Poe uses symbolism, allusion, and archetypes to maintain a gothic feeling in The Pit and the Pendulum.

In this particular story, Poe uses the element of symbolism to express the medieval aspect of life during the Spanish Inquisition. Rat, a word of many meanings and feelings, Poe uses rats to allow us to understand the distinct emotions of pain, disgust, and power. "They writhed upon my throat; I was half stifled by their thronging pressure; disgust, for which the word has no name, swelled my bosom, and chilled with heavy clamminess my heart" (Poe, pg 4). Poe feels that this man is in agony; but not agony of pain, agony of knowing the inevitable pain to come.

He is overcome by the disgust that these creatures carry upon themselves so much that he starts to understand that which they hold in their grasps. The power that such little things can behave in such the manor of living demons of the dark terrors. As the rats appeared, we know they came from someplace unknown to the author, this place must be an area of darkness. This is Poe's next symbol, which he tends to stress in this story. Darkness has the ability not only to make one think of times with candles and dim light sources, but also the ability to make one feel lost and scared of the unknown. "The blackness of darkness supervened; all sensations appeared swallowed up" (pg 1). Here, the author was overcome amazingly by the utter disappearance of light completely. When one looses the ability to see,