The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe Essay

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The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the pendulum demonstrate an arabesque look at the human mind. Part of the terror of "The Pit and the Pendulum" stems from the apocalyptic imagery with which Poe establishes his narrative framework. The narrator of the tale seems not to parallel the characters of Poe's other tales, in that he is very sane and his torture comes from without rather than from within. Poe has used apocalyptic imagery in many of his works (Spealght 235). Condemned to torture and death by the black-robed, white-lipped judges of the Inquisition in the opening scene of the tale, the narrator observes seven candles, which first dissolve in his mind into seven angels wearing…show more content…
Fittingly, then, Poe concludes his tale with blaring trumpets, "fiery walls," and "a thousand thunders", apocalyptic images that describe the narrator's deliverance by General LaSalle as a sort of Second Coming of Christ. Indeed, removed from its allusive context, the narrator's rescue is difficult to account for since, as David H. Hirsch has pointed out, it is neither foreshadowed in the tale nor congruent with its overwhelming Beard-The Pit and the Pendulum-3 oppression. However, in light of Revelation 16.15 - "Behold, I come as a thief " - the narrator as well as the reader accepts the unexpectedness of LaSalle's and the narrator's escape. Commentators have of course, recognized Poe's allusions to Revelation and several apocryphal books of the Bible. Hirsch observes that the final paragraphs of the tale neatly counterpoint the first by reversing the narrator's loss of hearing, and then collapse with auditory amplification and expansion. According to Hirsch, "the 'dreamy indeterminate hum' of the opening lines is caught up in the 'discordant hum' of the conclusion; the 'burr of a mill-wheel' is amplified into the 'thousand thunders,' and the collapsing image of the 'blackness of darkness supervened'" is inverted "into the expanding image of the fiery walls rushing outward". Hirsch suggests, moreover, that the "outstretched arm of
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