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The Pit and the Pendulum and the Life of Poe

Essay by   •  September 11, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,038 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,841 Views

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Poe

Here in America, many people pay money to go see a horror film in theaters. The reason for this is that we thoroughly enjoy the horror genre. But where did this obsession start? A good cause would be The Pit and The Pendulum by the one and only Edgar Allen Poe. Edgar Allen Poe helped greatly increase the popularity of the genre we now know as Horror in the United States of America.

"The name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead (Poe's Museum)." Poe is famous all over the world for the horror he has done. He has brought many people into fear after simply reading his works. "Poe's reputation today rests primarily on his tales of terror as well as on his haunting lyric poetry (Poe's Museum)." He truly is a mastermind into the sick, twisted, and wrong and it makes for very appealing stories. What many people are unaware of though, is the real Poe.

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Within three years of Poe's birth both of his parents had died, and he was taken in by the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances Valentine Allan in Richmond, Virginia while Poe's siblings went to live with other families. Mr. Allan would rear Poe to be a businessman and a Virginia gentleman, but Poe had dreams of being a writer in emulation of his childhood hero the British poet Lord Byron (Poe's Museum).

Growing up with the aspiration to be as great a writer as Lord Byron was bound to spawn a fantastic writer in all senses of the word. The stories he wrote were amazing and thought-provoking, one in particular, "The Pit and The Pendulum."

"The Pit and The Pendulum" by Edgar Allen Poe brought shear horror to an unexpected audience. It allowed the common man to view what life would have been like during the Inquisition as one of the tortured captives. It sent fear dead down the spine of the reader in a way that no one could imagine before Poe created the imagery for the unnamed narrator. "He is confused because he knows that the usual fate of Inquisition victims is a public auto-da-fé, or "act of faith"--an execution normally taking the form of a hanging. He is afraid that he has been locked in a tomb, but he gets up and walks a few paces (Sparknotes)." The poor unaware narrator has been sentenced to a miserable fate and there was little he could do but pray. "Reflecting upon his proximity to the pit, the narrator explains

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its function as a punishment of surprise, infamously popular with the Inquisitors. The narrator falls asleep again and wakes up to more water and bread. After drinking, he immediately falls asleep again and imagines that the water must have been drugged (Sparknotes)." The Inquisitors that were holding him captive were playing with him; testing his limits, seeing what he would do in different scenarios. And just when they were sure he could do no more, he would surprise them again. "When the pendulum gets very close to him, he has a flash of insight. He rubs the food from his plate all over the strap that is restraining his mobility. Drawn by the food, the rats climb on top of the narrator and chew through the strap. As the pendulum nears his heart, the narrator breaks

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