Torture And Torment In The Pit And

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Torture And Torment In The Pit And The Pendulum: You Can’T Escape Death Essay, Research Paper In the Story The Pit and the Pendulum, the narrator explains that he has been sentenced to death by the Inquisition (the institutionalized persecution of all Protestants and heretical Catholics by the Catholic government in 15th- and 16th-century Spain). The reader however must not get Poe confused with the narrator because the narrator is the one telling the story while Poe is the author of the story. The narrator starts his story by saying he is sick unto death (180). The narrator here is trying to suggest that this sickness is the normal position of a human being; everyone is mortal. He recognizes this in the beginning. “The Pit and the Pendulum” is a story of torture. The

punishments that the narrator is about to receive illustrate the power of humans to inflict pain and suffering on others. In addition, though, this story shows that the worst kind of torture is that of uncertainty and fear. Once the narrator understands that he will die from falling into the pit, it is no longer as cruel a punishment as the Inquisitors want to give him. Therefore, each punishment entails some element of pain, but, more importantly, a great deal of mental anguish before death. Unsurprisingly, the narrator finds comfort in trying to understand his environment and fate. He measures the room carefully because he wants to make sense out of his situation in order to ease his mind. His captivity is unpredictable and he never knows what is going and is totally unaware of

his surroundings. However, he knows sooner or later that he is going to die. Upon receiving his death sentence, the narrator loses consciousness. When he awakes, he is in complete darkness. He is confused because he knows that the usual fate of Inquisition victims is a public “act of faith”–an execution normally taking the form of a hanging (183). He is afraid that he has been trapped in a tomb, but he gets up and walks a few paces, which makes him think that he is not in a tomb but perhaps in one of the dungeons at Toledo (the inquisitor’s prison). He decides to explore. However, he soon stumbles and collapses to the ground, where he falls asleep. Upon waking, the narrator finds a portion of water and bread, which he consumes. Then he resumes his tour of the prison, and

notices that although most of his body has fallen on solid ground, most of his face is dangling. He realizes that in the center of the prison there is a circular pit. The narrator falls asleep again and wakes up to more water and bread. He imagines that he must have been drugged by the water because he immediately falls asleep after drinking. When he wakes up the next time, the prison is dimly lit. Here on the narrator goes into repeated lapses of unconsciousness. The light allowed him to clarify his understanding of the shape of his cell. The walls were not as he imagined, but were carved with designs of fiends and hideous depictions of the punishments of hell. There were not many pits but only one in the middle of the room. To find the depth of the pit, the narrator breaks a

stone off of the wall of the pit and throws it in, listening to it fall. The pit is deep with water at the bottom. The narrator decides that the inquisitors must have left him to fall into the pit. The victim’s greatest fear was not that he would see hideous forms or the henchmen of the Inquisition but that there would be nothing to see at all. His fears are confirmed. He sat in darkness. In that darkness, reason came to birth. At first, as a distraction from the utter emptiness, later as a means of survival, eventually, a prevention against insanity. Thought was not confined to remembering where he was and how he had arrived there. It took a pernicious turn down the by-ways of paranoia. Many stories of torture, like this one, set up a stage upon which the prisoner painted his