Pit and the Pendulum (Tales of Fear & the Unknown) Audio Cassette – Audiobook, 1 Dec 1989
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|Audio Cassette, Audiobook, 1 Dec 1989||
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About the Author
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849). Born in Boston to parents who were itinerant actors. At the age of two he was taken into the care of a wealthy tobacco exporter, John Allan, from whom the author took his middle name. His first collection of stories, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque was published in 1840 and contains some of his most famous works. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This short story’ is about the torments, both physical and mental, endured by a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, told in the first person. The story inspires fear in the reader with its heavy focus on the senses, such as sound and touch, meaning the reader is drawn into imagining the terror and anguish they too might feel in such a situation.
At the beginning of the story the unnamed narrator is brought to trial before various sinister judges. Poe provides no explanation of why he is there or for what he has been arrested. Before him are seven tall white candles on a table, and, as they melt, his hopes of survival also diminish. He is condemned to death and finds himself locked in a pitch black ‘room’, which he at first believes to be a tomb, but then discovers is a cell ... with a deep and ominous pit in the centre.
The food provided for him attracts the attention of ‘enormous rats’ ... ‘with ravenous eyes’, who swarm out of the pit; and over time he devises a strategy to enlist their help to escape from his bonds and the menacing pendulum.
However the physical and mental torture is not at an end: a new horror becomes apparent, and his soul is in agony, despair and torment as the end of the story looms.
Torture by rat was known in the UK over two hundred years before Poe wrote ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ and was a feature of Elizabethan England, with the “Rats Dungeon” within the Tower of London being a totally dark cell below the high-water mark which would ‘draw in rats’ from the rising River Thames.Read more ›
OK, it sure is easy to see why this story is recognized as a classic work of American literature! It is scary, in the older way, without recourse to blood and severed limbs, and keeps you glued to your chair reading it. I am now quite sorry that it took me so long to get around to reading this story, it's great, and I highly recommend it.
By the way, is it true that this story is a Christian allegory? It is inevitable that, regardless of what the hero does, he will end up in the pit (Hell). When he avoids it early on, you see the figure of time with its pendulum slowly moving towards taking his life away, and afterward the pit is still inevitable. And then, when all hope is lost, and his efforts won't save him, it is the hand of God that reaches out to save him. Read this story and decide for yourself!