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“The Pit and the Pendulum”

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1 “The Pit and the Pendulum”
Edgar A. Poe

2 General Info Written in 1842 Author: Edgar Allan Poe
The time span of was a time when Poe wrote many of his most known works.( “The Pit and the Pendulum” 1842, “The Tell-Tale Heart”- Jan. 1843, “The Masque of Red Death”- April 1842, “The Black Cat”- 1843)

3 Setting Setting: Toledo, Spain- Dungeon- During the Spanish inquisition Allusion- a reference to a famous historical or literary figure or event. Its purpose is to explain and enhance the subject of the text. This story alludes the Spanish Inquisition. *Note: The Spanish Inquisition began in 1487 under the rule of KingFerdinand and Queen Isabella as well as Pope Sextius IV. The Spanish Inquisition tried to eliminate all non-Catholic, especially Jews and Muslims. It ended centuries later in 1834.

4 Point of View Point of View::
~ 1st person POV: is told by a character who refers to himself or herself as “I” ~ Purposes- 1.We share immediately in the narrator’s experience and feelings. 2.We know what only the narrator knows 3.The reader experiences what the narrator experiences. 4. Creates a sense of intimacy. 5. It limits the reader’s knowledge.

5 The narrator: our protagonist/main character
Nameless Antagonist- ~ his insanity ~ his tormentors ~ time, etc. *Note- Poe rarely has a story with a happy ending. In Poe’s mind, the narrator, even after being rescued, can continue with a new, more frightening type of torture…life.

6 Theme: central idea Untimely Death Isolation Torture
Will to live vs. desire to die- Survival Fear Loss of time Persecution

7 Genre: category into which a story falls
Fiction- the events of the story did not happen ~ Horror Fiction ~ Gothic Novel: supernatural horrors and atmosphere of unknown terror; extreme emotions (anger,surprise, fear, etc.) Note: Poe is given credit for introducing the modern detective story

8 Style: the way a writer uses language and literary elements
Use of Latin and French ( can be confusing to modern readers) Minimum use of characterization, plot and atmosphere Interest in the events that happen to people rather than the individual Uses a repeated male character- some say this male character may be various parts of him Famous for his use of suspense

9 Symbol Pit= hell Pendulum= slow, approaching death; time ticking down
Father Time= Zeus’ father, Cronus; controller of time Darkness= The unknown; ignorance Rats= A potential problem turned positive Unseen tormentors= personal “demons”

10 With a partner. . . What do you think really happens to the narrator at the end of the story? Which aspect of the narrator’s torture— physical or psychological—do you find more horrible? Why?

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