What are the feelings that the narrator displays in the story "The Pit and the Pendulum"?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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 knowing what else is there with you, where you are, what is going to happen next. He is at first bound, and when he awakens, finds he is free of his restraints but still in complete darkness.  He walks around to get his bearings only to stumble and fall.  Upon falling, he begins to crawl, discovering that had he continued walking, he would have tumbled into a seemingly bottomless pit (he has thrown rocks down to determine the depth).  As if this weren't terrifying enough, he eventually awakens again to find himself bound to a table with a huge pendulum swaying closer and closer to his body.  Thinking quickly, he rubs the meat he has been left to eat on the ropes, so the rats would chew through them.  The entire story is ups and downs--terror and relief--all the way to the end when just as he is about to be severed in two, he is freed by officers of the army.  The ending seems a little too contrite and too good to be true, but the narrator has been through so many spikes of emotion, he doesn't care how he has come to be freed from this emotional roller coaster.  The reader, however, must find a way to swallow the convenience of it all.

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The Pit and the Pendulum

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