The Pit and the Pendulum

The Pit and the Pendulum
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  • Narrator faces ghostly judges that sentence him to death.
  • Narrator is thrown into a dark room filled with silence.
  • Narrator discovers there are rats inside the room with him. They began to swarm around him and cause him to panic.
  • “The sentence-the dread sentence of death-was the last distinct accentuation which reached my ears” (Poe 10-11). 
  • Narrator then discovers a long black pit and is extremely overwhelmed by it. He fears he will fall down it.
  • “I dreaded the first glance at objects around me. It was not that I feared to look upon things horrible, but that I grew aghast lest there should be nothing to see...The blackness of eternal night encompassed me” (Poe 98-100/102-103).
  • Narrator looks up and discovers a large pendulum that gets closer to him each time it swings.
  • “A slight noise attracted my notice, and, looking to the floor, I saw several enormous rats traversing it” (Poe 287-288).
  • While the narrator struggles to get away from the pendulum, a French soldier comes to get him out of the cell and he is finally free. 
  • “My cognizance of the pit had become known to the inquisitorial agents- the pit whose horrors had been destined for so bold a recusant as myself- the pit, typical of hell…” (Poe 307-309)
  • “The vibration of the pendulum was at right angles to my length. I saw that the crescent was designed to cross the region of my heart” (Poe 345-346)
  • “Free and in the grasp of the Inquisition!...An outstretched arm caught my own as I fell, fainting into the abyss. It was that of General Lassel. The French Army had entered Toledo” (446/516-519)
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