The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe

The Pit and the Pendulum book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What does total darkness symbolize in "The Pit and the Pendulum?"

Expert Answers info

Rebecca Hope eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write1,493 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

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 eternal night." This deep blackness represents the depths of fear that the narrator experiences--the exact fear that is a key tool the inquisitors use as part of their torture. This fear has three aspects: fear of the unknown, fear of the future, and fear of death and the afterlife. 

The first thing the narrator wonders when he experiences the darkness is whether he may have been buried alive. Not knowing whether he may be in a...

(The entire section contains 338 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial