Appraisal of “The Pit and the Pendulum”

Dear Readers, Friends,

Even in the face of Edgar Allan Poe’s death (such a startling loss…) we shall valiantly push on, because

we know our long-suffering friend, Master Poe, would want it that way.

But! Before I delve into my thoughts and continue our series of appraisals focused on his works (now in

memoriam), please allow me to exclusively report something quite possibly entering into the ghastly.

I have been personally informed of a most curious sighting. A man (I will refrain from using the term

“gentleman,” as I was unable to ascertain the deportment of this person) remarkably similar to Edgar

Allen Poe himself, was seen weeping at the foot of Virginia Clemm Poe’s grave late last night.

As if that was not extraordinary enough, once the man had disappeared, a mysterious note containing

a sequence of symbols was found leaning against her gravestone. It is my belief that this sequence is, in

fact, a Masonic Cipher code, though I have no way to decipher it. Why is this of interest, you may ask,

dear Readers? I do know for a fact, that cryptograms (such as these) were a passion for Master Poe. It is

all very curious… Very curious indeed!

My digression complete, I shall now attend to Master Poe’s dark offering, “The Pit and the Pendulum.”

It explores another unnamed protagonist who, in this case, has been taken captive and is being held

in a prison during The Spanish Inquisition. The man explores his unlit chamber, almost to plummeting

into a fathoms-deep pit. Eventually, he succumbs to a fit of swooning. Finally, he wakes to find himself

restrained on a wooden apparatus, looking up at a scimitar-like pendulum, swinging lower and lower

towards him. As the blade approaches his bosom, the man manages to coax the cell’s other inhabitants,

(rats!) to gnaw at his bindings until he is freed, only to find that the walls of his cell are red-hot and

closing in on him, pushing him toward the seemingly bottomless pit. Fearing what lies below, the man

attempts to resist, only to be pushed to… and over the edge. But! At the last second, he is saved by the

hand of a French comrade.

Readers, I am unable to grasp the meaning of Poe’s latest work. I have tried to understand his lovelorn

ramblings regarding various women; however, his latest work is beyond the comprehension of a Godly

man. I am afraid that I cannot find entertainment in the musings of a hell-like chamber. And, I only pray

that Poe, man or spirit, finds his way through this purgatory into the heavenly gates of everlasting life.

Leave a Reply