Writings characterized as Dark Romanticism often portray images of evil such as Satan, ghosts, goblins, etc. Elements of the supernatural and a dark view of nature are also key characteristics. The psychology of man is often explored, especially a self-destructive mind. Poe's work, "The Pit and the Pendulum" uses these characteristics to give the work a very dark and horrific mood.
The torture begins with darkness, and the narrator doesn't know where he is or what will happen to him. This darkness plays with his mind and his mental faculties. When the light reappears, the narrator is on the edge of a deep pit and the walls are painted with terrible images, of devils and skeletons. He is tied down and the sharp edge of a pendulum swings towards him, coming closer with every stroke. He manages to narrowly escape the pendulum, but the walls heat up and begin to close. Several times throughout the story the narrator has the choice of jumping into the pit and succumbing to death that way, but he goes back and forth and never makes up his mind, and it seems as though this choice leads him to a more horrific death. However, there is respite at the end of the story.