The entire story takes place inside a pit or prison cell into which the narrator of the story, and indeed the story's only visible character, has been thrown. Although the pit is the immediate setting of the story, the broader historical context is the Spanish Inquisition during the sixteenth century, when the Inquisition, a court of the Roman Catholic Church, persecuted heretics, so-called witches, and members of other religions with torture and execution.
The story does not indicate what the nameless narrator and central character of the story has done to deserve the tortures...
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