Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum” was one of his most famous works of artistic literature. With his unusually morbid writing technique, Poe created a story in which real fears came alive. “The Pit and the Pendulum” consists of two main themes as well as symbolism.
The first theme is the terror a human goes through when being confined and sentenced to mental and physical torture, which may end in death. Poe shows us the fear from the narrator within the text. Poe writes, “Then, very suddenly, thought, and shuddering terror and earnest endeavor to comprehend my true state. Then a strong desire to lapse into insensibility. Then a rushing revival of soul and a successful effort to move.”
The other theme that is expressed is the cruelty one is put through even when falsely accused. Poe shows this by expressing all the mental and physical torture through imagery, and painting a picture for the reader of what goes on in the holding cell where the prisoner is kept. By doing this Poe lets the reader feel as if their experiencing this themselves, getting the theme a crossed and helping the reader interpret what happened.
In “The Pit and the Pendulum” Poe used symbolism in many different ways. The Pit represents Hell or death, when the pendulum represents time. The rats also can represent a second chance, the slight hope of freedom and survival. Depending on the reader many others can interpret the story in different ways.
Edgar Allen Poe set good examples for writers to come by his ways of symbolism and theme. Without them the story elements wouldn’t be accurate. The story would seize to exist, destroying a writer’s masterpiece.