The Pit and the Pendulum Questions and Answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

Poe begins the story with an epigraph, though it is a faux epigraph, since he wrote it himself. An epigraph is a short quotation at the beginning of a literary work to suggest the work's theme....

Latest answer posted November 6, 2017 9:48 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

The first almost-death occurrence is when he stumbles in his dark prison, and comes right up against the vast pit that is in the middle. He is lucky in this; he was wandering around blindly and...

Latest answer posted October 26, 2009 6:49 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

“The Pit and the Pendulum” is full of symbols. Although they are all open to interpretation, several, particularly the pit and the pendulum themselves, are very clear and comprehensible given the...

Latest answer posted November 27, 2019 9:49 am UTC

5 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

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...

Latest answer posted March 17, 2018 12:56 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

Before the story begins, we are presented with an epigraph in Latin which translates as follows: Here an unholy mob of torturers with an insatiable thirst for innocent blood, once fed their long...

Latest answer posted April 12, 2020 3:08 am UTC

4 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

The narrator of "The Pit and the Pendulum" is often uncertain about how much time has elapsed and about the physical details of the prison, which suggests that the narrator is increasingly losing...

Latest answer posted November 9, 2020 2:15 pm UTC

4 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

I believe that Poe is trying to show readers the effects of unrelieved mental torture. Sure, there is plenty of physical torture going on in this story; however, the fear of the unknown is what...

Latest answer posted March 7, 2018 9:20 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

Your question is not actually as straightforward as it would first appear, because the richly symbolic nature of this tale opens its rather abrupt ending to a number of different interpretations....

Latest answer posted October 16, 2011 9:36 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

One way that Poe is able to build tension in the "Pit in the Pendulum" is by making the narrator of the story the victim and protagonist of the story. It's written in first person, so the reader...

Latest answer posted February 11, 2016 1:36 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

Edgar Allan Poe was the master at using a number of literary devices in his works. The Pit and the Pendulum is one of his most famous stories. In this story he sets up great suspense and a...

Latest answer posted November 16, 2014 4:42 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

One does not associate Edgar Allan Poe's stories with happy endings. Because of this, the reader may be surprised by the sudden reversal of fortune at the end of "The Pit and the Pendulum." After...

Latest answer posted February 9, 2020 9:13 am UTC

4 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

Yes. The way that General Lasalle arrives at just the moment before the protagonist plummets into the pit of flames that threatens to swallow him up clearly indicates that this is meant to be seen...

Latest answer posted November 30, 2013 8:38 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The prison where the narrator is placed is completely dark, leaving him unaware of the boundaries and dimensions of the cell. Initially, the narrator walks forward with his arms outstretched...

Latest answer posted February 20, 2018 10:25 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

When one reads a short story, one can think of it in terms of the story arc, that is, the rising action, climax, and falling action. These events are related to the plot and follow the development...

Latest answer posted February 26, 2016 1:28 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The narrator in "The Pit and the Pendulum" is painfully aware of the connection between rats and death. He knows that they desire to make him their "prey," in other words, to eat him alive. He...

Latest answer posted March 25, 2016 5:12 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The narrator employs auditory imagery—imagery that describes something heard—when he says, the sound of the inquisitorial voices seemed merged in one dreamy indeterminate hum. It conveyed to my...

Latest answer posted December 4, 2017 1:05 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

The narrator is very curious and logical, and his ability to distract himself from his terror by considering his space and how best to understand his situation likely saves him from losing his mind...

Latest answer posted November 21, 2018 5:12 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

Edgar Allan Poe was a Dark Romantic writer who wanted to leave behind what was rational and tangible in the world to discover the unsettling truth that lies in the dark, irrational depths of the...

Latest answer posted December 20, 2017 2:29 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

There are two descriptions of the dungeon given - one before the narrator has light by which to see it, and one after he he has been tied up and has light through the opening in the ceiling. In...

Latest answer posted November 11, 2008 6:35 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

In Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Pit and the Pendulum," many details are left unexplained. The narrator, who is never named, is being held by the Spanish Inquisition. The trial and sentencing...

Latest answer posted February 25, 2016 3:58 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

Allowing six lines for the introductory quatrain and its translation, lines 8–13 of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" encompass approximately this section of the story: I felt that my...

Latest answer posted June 21, 2019 6:59 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

When the narrator first wakes up in the dungeon, it is completely dark, and he can't see any part of his cell. This state continues for some time, and he manages to explore his room and avoid...

Latest answer posted March 25, 2016 5:35 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The narrator is able to escape death by pendulum, because he enlists the help of the rats that he shares his prison with. The narrator rubs his oily and bloody hands all over the straps that tie...

Latest answer posted November 9, 2015 8:22 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

Many countries now have laws about the need to provide humane treatment to prisoners, but clearly those laws did not exist during the Spanish Inquisition. The narrator and protagonist is imprisoned...

Latest answer posted December 15, 2019 3:10 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The characters of the "Pit and the Pendulum" are as follows. We can confirm only two, plus an unknown number of captors and rats: The narrator: The narrator has no name, but he has been arrested...

Latest answer posted November 3, 2018 8:16 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

The narrator also notices that The room had been square. I saw that two of its iron angles were now acute--two, consequently, obtuse. The fearful difference quickly increased with a low rumbling or...

Latest answer posted January 10, 2009 1:25 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

This story is set during the Spanish Inquisition. This began in the late 15th century and lasted until the early 1800s. This story supposedly takes place in the early 1800s when Napoleon was in...

Latest answer posted November 20, 2015 6:59 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The rats in "The Pit and the Pendulum" present an interesting twist on their traditional symbolic use. Typically, rats symbolize death, decay, and disease, and the narrator actually uses this to...

Latest answer posted June 16, 2020 12:44 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

This question refers to the four-line Latin epigraph that comes at the beginning of the story. The quatrain speaks of the Jacobins, a party of men who ruled France after the French Revolution....

Latest answer posted May 28, 2017 4:08 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

We do not learn why the narrator has been taken captive. When the story begins, he is in the midst of his trial, and while he sees his judges speaking, he is unable to hear them. He is overcome...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2018 2:21 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

One detail that always stands out as especially terrifying is the fact that the short story is set during the Inquisition. Most of my students have no idea what this means, and I have to explain...

Latest answer posted May 25, 2018 10:44 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

Consider this—if you knew that the narrator was, for example, a murderer would you have any sympathy for him? It could be that this is a person who stole bread because he was starving. Perhaps he...

Latest answer posted July 9, 2017 1:41 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

When the story begins, the narrator's state of mind is pretty poor. He feels "that [his] senses were leaving [him]" and he is filled with "dread" when he hears that he has been sentenced to death....

Latest answer posted April 9, 2019 6:07 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

Complete and utter terror. The narrator begins the story by being a victim of the Inquisition, and is imprisoned in a dark room. Darkness is often enough to scare someone out of his wits...not...

Latest answer posted September 21, 2008 11:27 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

In Edgar Allan Poe's horror story "The Pit and the Pendulum," the narrator, after being sentenced and swooning, wakes up in a cell that is pitch black, which he feels is "the blackness of the...

Latest answer posted February 25, 2016 4:39 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The opening of "The Pit and the Pendulum" sets the scene for what's to come later. There's something both surreal and yet at the same time, hyper real, about the fate that has befallen the...

Latest answer posted January 11, 2018 9:02 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

Conflict types, as used when it comes to literature, describe one of five kinds of conflict found in stories: man versus man, man versus nature, man versus himself, man versus society, and man...

Latest answer posted December 17, 2009 11:44 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

In Edgar Allen Poe's frightening tale "The Pit and the Pendulum," the narrator is brought before the sinister judges of the Spanish Inquisition and condemned to death. He faints and then awakens in...

Latest answer posted October 18, 2018 12:37 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

All four of these themes are present to some degree in Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Pit and the Pendulum," but only the third (C), can be described as a major theme of the text. The narrator...

Latest answer posted September 16, 2019 1:57 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

This story is set during the Inquisition, where anyone that would not convert to Catholicism was labeled a heretic and captured. They were often tortured and killed. It was a brutal time period...

Latest answer posted October 19, 2009 2:30 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

“The Pit and the Pendulum” is about a man sentenced to death during the Spanish Inquisition, who awakes in the depths of a dungeon cell. At first it is pitch black in the “vault,” dank and cold,...

Latest answer posted February 10, 2016 8:50 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

Poe often uses an unreliable narrator in his stories; it's one way of presenting a seemingly inconsistent narrative without the author taking the blame. In "The Pit and the Pendulum," in addition...

Latest answer posted September 10, 2018 7:04 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

He faces several different fates. At first, he is sentenced to "the dread sentence of death" and his reaction is brief (as he is drugged), but "dread" speaks it. When he comes to, he discovers...

Latest answer posted December 14, 2008 12:46 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The reader is left breathless by the climactic ending. The rescue of the narrator just before he topples headlong into the pit is such a release that it gives the reader a huge sigh of relief....

Latest answer posted November 25, 2009 10:49 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The pendulum itself represents two things: the passage of time and death. Pendulums are used in clocks to determine and mark the passing of each second. As the pendulum swings back and forth, it is...

Latest answer posted March 26, 2016 10:51 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The single effect that Poe hoped to instill in readers of "The Pit and the Pendulum" is dread—specifically, the fear of imminent death. The narrator names his dominant emotion "shuddering terror"...

Latest answer posted March 9, 2019 4:34 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

For me, based on the narrator's reaction to his death sentence, I've always thought that the narrator is innocent. If he were guilty, I would assume that his reaction would have been a reaction of...

Latest answer posted December 16, 2015 2:29 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The narrator of the story, a man imprisoned by the Spanish Inquisition, describes the mode of torture inflicted upon him after he discovers the pit inside his cell. Once he can avoid it, his...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2019 11:05 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The part of The Pit and the Pendulum that I always find the most suspenseful is the part about the pendulum. It starts with the narrator noticing that the painting of Time on the ceiling had a...

Latest answer posted February 25, 2016 10:29 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The narrator of the story is in prison in Toledo, Spain. He is a victim of the Inquisition. He is in complete darkness. He attempts to discover the type of dungeon he is in by walking around the...

Latest answer posted May 15, 2009 11:49 pm UTC

1 educator answer

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