The Pit and the Pendulum Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

The Pit and the Pendulum book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Sensory imagery examples in "The Pit and the Pendulum."

Expert Answers info

Bridgett Sumner, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookM.A. from Hofstra University


calendarEducator since 2016

write1,748 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

Edgar Allan Poe imbues "The Pit and the Pendulum" with lots of sensory imagery in hopes of providing readers with a vicarious experience of the tortures that the narrator undergoes before his eventual rescue. In doing so, Poe is meticulous in his descriptions, making sure to appeal to all five senses of the body.

Near the beginning of the story the narrator describes "the sound of the inquisitorial voices . . . merged in one dreamy indeterminate hum," an appeal to the sense of hearing.

When he thinks back on his trial, the narrator remembers a singular vision, that of "the lips of the blackrobed [sic] judges. They appeared to me white."

As the narrator awakens in his dungeon after a prolonged swoon, his sense of touch is activated by his hand falling upon "something damp and hard."

After a hard, face-first fall as he gropes about in the darkness, the narrator detects "the peculiar smell of decayed fungus" as his face rests on the ground of the dungeon where he is imprisoned.

The narrator's captors torture him by removing the pitcher of water they had initially provided and giving him a dish of "meat pungently seasoned," the description implying that he has tasted it.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial