The Pit and the Pendulum Questions and 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

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

In Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum, the first two dangers the narrator has to overcome are the titular pit and pendulum. When the narrator first wakes up in his cell, he is surrounded by absolute...

Latest answer posted March 23, 2016, 12:27 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The setting of the story is Toledo, Spain, during the Spanish Inquisition. The narrator has been arrested, tried, condemned, and imprisoned in a cruel and inhumane way. The conflict, I think, is...

Latest answer posted January 3, 2019, 2:54 pm (UTC)

2 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

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

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

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 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

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

In Edgar Allen Poe's "The Lake," the effect of the titular body of water on the speaker seems strange and even contradictory at times. The speaker contrasts emotions that are typically considered...

Latest answer posted December 3, 2019, 5:49 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

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 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

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

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

In this story, the narrator quite simply realizes that his dream had not been a dream at all. He tells of how he “swooned” after receiving his death sentence from the Inquisition, and goes on to...

Latest answer posted March 25, 2016, 5:13 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

Poe creates an atmosphere of horror in "The Pit and the Pendulum" by keeping the reader constantly in suspense and uncertainty. Readers are plunged abruptly into the action from the first sentence,...

Latest answer posted March 17, 2020, 5:21 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

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

Poe’s narrator is saved at the end, dramatically, by “an outstretched arm” that grabs him just as he is about to be forced into the pit. The story ends with a reference to “General LaSalle“ having...

Latest answer posted December 4, 2017, 12:09 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Pit and the Pendulum

I would argue that "The Pit and the Pendulum" demonstrates at least two beliefs about human nature. First, the narrator's struggle exemplifies hope, even in the most impossible of circumstances. He...

Latest answer posted July 1, 2021, 11:12 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The narrator of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" is a prisoner who is being tortured and tormented as part of the Spanish Inquisition. He tells us that he is in a room, in the dark, and...

Latest answer posted December 5, 2013, 6:51 am (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 quote appears in the second paragraph of the story. In the first, the narrator has been sick -- close to death, in fact. And then at the end of that paragraph he loses consciousness...

Latest answer posted December 17, 2009, 10:22 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

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 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 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

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

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 first two dangers the narrator faces would be the pit and the pendulum (the story is aptly named). Because the room he is trapped in has no light at all, he stumbles around in the dark, feeling...

Latest answer posted November 12, 2015, 11:38 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

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 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

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 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

Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" is famously cited for its ability to evoke a sense of dread within the reader. One of the few tales of Poe's that actually has a relatively "happy"...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2016, 6:24 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 story is an unidentified man who has been "tried" and imprisoned, in the city of Toledo, during a time of "inquisition." This would imply that the narrator (who tells the story...

Latest answer posted December 9, 2009, 9:27 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

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

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

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

The walls of the narrator's prison are not attached to the floor or ceiling. That means that the walls themselves can move independently from the rest of the room. It proceeded from a fissure,...

Latest answer posted October 13, 2015, 1:09 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

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

I would say there are two key factors to keep in mind when considering the "Pit and the Pendulum" when ascertaining the narrator's bravery. The first is largely buried in the subtext. The...

Latest answer posted January 19, 2019, 9:01 pm (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

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

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

Poe was a master at creating spooky and suspenseful moods in stories. In "The Pit and The Pendulum," his narrator is subjected to gruesome torture during the Spanish Inquisition. Poe toys with the...

Latest answer posted December 7, 2008, 7:55 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Pit and the Pendulum

The narrator describes four things about the courtroom in the first paragraph of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum." He remembers hearing the voices of the judges. He heard distinctly...

Latest answer posted July 3, 2016, 9:15 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

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 first word of Edgar Allan Poe's 1843 short story "The Pit and the Pendulum" is "I" and reveals that the story is told from a first-person point of view. The point of view of the prisoner is...

Latest answer posted September 12, 2018, 9:40 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

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

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