Horror vs Terror in Poe's Pit and the Pendulum and the Black Cat
1676 WordsMar 4, 20127 Pages
It is a well known fact that Edgar Allan Poe‘s stories are famous for producing horror or terror in his readers beyond description. However, it is one of this essay’s attempts to precisely describe these two characteristics present in The pit and the pendulum and The black cat. Horror may be defined as “the feeling of revulsion that usually occurs after something frightening is seen, heard, or otherwise experienced. It is the feeling one gets after coming to an awful realization or experiencing a deeply unpleasant occurrence.” On the contrary terror is described as “the feeling of dread and anticipation that precedes the horrifying experience” These two concepts are thought to be crucial when analyzing Poe’s writings. It is going to be…show more content…
These specific facts make the story more authentic and leave no space for doubts or ambiguities on the reader’s part. All the events taking place within the chamber, though terrifying, are coherent and in correspondence to the place in which the narrator is placed.
Taking into account the previous descriptions and the definitions of horror and terror we will try to identify which of these stories presents horror and which one may be said to go deeper by portraying terror. The Pit and the pendulum is characterized by having a narrator who seems in absolute use of his mental faculties. As it is mentioned above, this character is aware of what is happening around him and by having a peak of his logical thoughts and feelings the reader experiences the struggle of the narrator to stay alive in a much more personal way. The fact that this character is sane, integrated and coherent in his thinking is one of the reasons why the reader may sense the terror of the story on a whole other level.
The narrator in this torture chamber is submitted to several kinds of traps and torments: the pit, the rats and the closing walls. He tries to escape from each one of these but every time he succeeds he finds himself in a worse situation than he was before. Inside the chamber he is deprived of the sense of sight so at first he cannot know where he is or what dangers surround him. His will however