Homework Help

What are the symbols of hell, death, and salvation in "The Pit and the...

user profile pic

sneakychopsticks | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 15, 2009 at 9:00 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What are the symbols of hell, death, and salvation in "The Pit and the Pendulum"?

In Poe's short story "The Pit and the Pendulum."

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted January 15, 2009 at 11:08 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

The pit represents hell and terror of the unknown, as the narrator describes his near fall into the abyss and his fears at what actually lay at the bottom.

The pendulum represents approaching death, acting as that of a clock's pendulum marking one's limited time before "the scythe" (also a symbol of death) strikes.

The shouts of soldiers approaching to deliver the narrator from his fate symbolise his redemption (literally, 'being bought back' or 'salvation') from the hands of his enemies..

For the historical context of the story, see the reference below.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes