In "The Pit and the Pendulum", to what fate has the narrator been sentenced? How does he react to his sentence?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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 himself in total blackness; his reaction is fear that he is in a tomb.  This is horrific enough that it  "drove the blood in torrents upon my heart", he passes out, wakes, and upon discovering it isn't a tomb, he is greatly relieved.  But then he discoveres the pit, and "congratulated myself upon the timely accident by which I had escaped."  He is grateful he didn't fall into it, but fears they are everywhere, and trembles in the corner.  Later, he finds himself tied to a board with the blade slowly descending.  His reaction to this is varied:  "I prayed—I wearied heaven with my prayer for its more speedy descent. I grew frantically mad, and struggled to force myself upward against the sweep of the fearful scimitar. And then I fell suddenly calm, and lay smiling at the glittering death".  Once he formulates his plan for escape, he feels "joy", and no wonder, considering what he's been through!

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The Pit and the Pendulum

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