illustration of a blade on the end of a pendulum swinging above a man's head

The Pit and the Pendulum

by Edgar Allan Poe

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What are the first two dangers faced by the narrator in "The Pit and the Pendulum"?

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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 darkness, with no way of knowing what kind of place he was imprisoned in. As he carefully explores his cell, he trips, and when he hits the ground, he notices that most of his head is not touching anything: he had accidentally found the pit in the center of the floor, and he had narrowly missed falling into it.

At a later point, his water is drugged, and when he wakes up, he finds that he is strapped down so that he cannot move. At first, he does not consider it much of a problem, but as the pendulum slowly lowers towards him, he realizes what will happen to him if he does not move. In order to escape being slowly cut in half, he spreads what little is left of his food onto the strap holding him down and the rats chew through it, and it is just in time for him to move out of the way before the pendulum could do too much damage.

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In "The Pit and the Pendulum," how does the narrator manage to break free from his bonds? What are the first two dangers that he faces?

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 his way along the room, until he falls face-first to the ground. When he is lying down on the floor, he notices that his forehead and nose, though his face is angled down, are not touching anything. That is when he realizes that there is a pit in the room, which he tests the depth of by throwing a piece of the ledge into it. Next is the pendulum, with its ever lower swings, threatening a slow and agonizing death. He does face other minor problems, such as the drugged water and the rats eating his only food, but I would not consider those true dangers.

After being drugged by the water, the narrator passes out, and when he wakes up, he finds that he has been bound to a platform of wood by a strap that encircled his body and limbs, save his left arm from the elbow down and his head. He struggles to release himself, but in the end, he only manages to escape by rubbing his remaining food on his bandages and falling still so that the rats come and chew straight through them.

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In "The Pit and the Pendulum," how does the narrator manage to break free from his bonds? What are the first two dangers that he faces?

The first danger the narrator faces is being in an unfamiliar room in the dark. He makes his way around the room and finds there is a pit into which he could fall. The second danger he finds is the bread, which he devours and then realizes has been laced with some sort of drug or poison.

When he wakes up, he is tied to a bed or platform of sorts and the razor-sharp pendulum is descending upon him. He takes the salty meat that was left for him (no water) and smears it across his ropes. The rats that live down in the pit smell the meat and then chew the ropes, which frees the narrator.

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What are the first two dangers the narrator faces in "The Pit and the Pendulum"?  

After his trial, the narrator first finds himself imprisoned in total darkness inside a small cell. "The blackness of eternal night encompassed me." Being confined is, itself, frightening for the narrator--"[T]he atmosphere was intolerably close,"-- but his terror is increased when, having moved along the damp walls in order to determine the size of his cell, the narrator secondly discovers that there is a hole in the floor. 

After the narrator trips over a remnant of cloth that he has used to mark the beginning of his walk around his cell, he discovers a startling circumstance: While his chin lies on the floor of the cell, his

...lips, and the upper portion of my head, although seemingly at a less elevation than the chin, touched nothing.

At the same time, the prisoner feels a "clammy vapor" on his forehead and he smells "decayed fungus." When he puts out his arm, he discovers that he has fallen at the very edge of a circular pit. Breaking off a small fragment of masonry just below the margin of the hole, the prisoner drops it into the pit only to realize that it is a deep pit filled with water. When there is a rapid opening and closing of an overhead door, the narrator "saw clearly the doom which had been prepared for me." He congratulates himself on escaping this deadly accident by his timely fall.

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What are the first two dangers the narrator faces in "The Pit and the Pendulum"?  

The first two dangers faced by the narrator of this story would be the pit and the pendulum, so the story is aptly named.

When he first wakes up in his pitch black cell, he starts trying to measure its size by trailing his hands along the wall and measuring by pace. This in and of itself is not the dangerous part; it is when the narrator paces more into the center of the room, trying to figure things out, that he comes close to losing his life. He trips and falls, and he realizes that his head is not touching anything, meaning that he tripped close enough to the pit that his head dangled over the edge.

The next danger is after he is drugged by his food and he wakes up tied down to the floor, and he can see the pendulum slowly descending as it swings back and forth. Luckily, he is clever, and he spreads what is left of his food onto the ropes holding him down, which baits the rats into chewing through the ropes and setting him free just before the pendulum reaches him.

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