The Pit and the Pendulum

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The Pit and the Pendulum" Symbolism: Although the events in the story create suspense and interest, its the story's deeper meaning that makes it so good. An analysis of the pit (death or hell), the scythe/pendulum (time and death), and the angelic forms of the Inquisitorial tribune (angels of death) are three of many symbols in the novel. Stripped of extraneous detail, the story focuses on what horror truly is: not the physical pain of death, but the terrible realization that a victim has no choice but to die. Whether the narrator chooses to jump into the pit or get sliced in half by the pendulum, he faces an identical outcome—death The Spanish Inquisition was a

religious court set up by the Catholic Church and the Spanish government in the 1400s. Its role was to accuse and punish
anyone who defied church or government authority.

This story is full of symbolism. One could view the entire story as one man's descent into hell (the pit functions as a symbol obviously), then his progression into purgatory (the pendulum serving as a way to pass time or work off his sins), and then finally his ascension into heaven (the French soldiers freeing him symbolic of heaven by the sudden light shining into the gloom and the sound of horns heralding his release).

‘An outstretched arm caught my own as I fell, fainting, into the abyss. It was that of General Lasalle.’

As the man tries to free himself, he must rely on his sometimes maddened mind (Burduck). His story uses symbolism involving religion, such as, the hand of General Lasalle reaching down to save the man represents the hand of god saving a soul. As he would be trying to think of something his mind would go blank and he couldn’t think. Eventually, he has to use his intelligence which overcomes his persecutors and he achieves his goal, freedom. This story shows us that mankind can achieve their goal through his intelligence, and succeed despite overwhelming odds. This story was a tug of war between the mental...
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