Pit and the Pendulum- Darkness

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Most people have gone through the fear of being encased in the dark. The setting of darkness in ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ creates the same effect of fear, both in the narrator and the reader. Darkness is present even before the narrator is in the tomb. The “black-robed judges” are the first which bring out darkness into the setting. Since they were the ones who sentenced the narrator to death in the tomb, they can be seen as the first glimpse of the immense darkness that the narrator was about to experience (in the tomb). The second thing that brings out the image of darkness in the court room setting are the “seven tall candles upon the table” which “sank into nothingness”, leaving behind only “the blackness of darkness”. The narrator initially sees these candles as “white slender angels who would save (him)”, however, since he soon realizes that they had burnt out, the narrator falls back into darkness. This shows that every little ray of hope which he could have had was now taken over by darkness. This also helps in creating a sense of engagement and suspense in the reader. Here, Poe seems to be setting his audience for the climax and feeling of terror. A similar effect can be seen in the setting of ‘Masque of the Red Death’, where the first room was blue (which is a relatively light colour) finally going on the dark, black room. Once the narrator is in the tomb and “night were the universe”, the darkness in the setting is clear. At this point we know that the narrator is surrounded by darkness and inevitably, the feeling of fear is aroused, both in the reader and the narrator. The darkness that Poe presents is quite strong and equally strong is its effect. When the narrator says that “it was not that I feared to look upon things horrible, but that there should be nothing to see”, darkness is presented as that which the narrator fears the most; the more the darkness be presented, the more the fear would grow. Poe builds on this idea consistently,...
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