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Suspense in The Pit and The Pendulum

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Edgar Allan Poe is one of the world’s best known authors. Poe was known for his amusing and enjoyable stories of suspense and horror stories, ​The Pit and The Pendulum ​is one of them. Poe uses the title, types of figurative language, and obstacles and events throughout the text to unravel the story and create suspense, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats wanting more. 

The purpose of the title is to create suspense, to get the audience to think and to want to keep reading. As soon as the words “pit” and “pendulum” are being read, it is clear that the two words completely contrast. It gives the reader a sense of curiosity as to why the title? As the audience continues to read, it is understandable that the pit is being used for torture, and so will the pendulum. Besides what they’re being used for, the pit and pendulum also have very profound symbolism and effortless alliteration. 

The pendulum clearly referred to time, as it swung like a grandfather clock, and the pit could have been seen as death or hell because nobody knows what’ll happen once they fall in. Alliteration and symbolism was laid throughout the entire story, not just in the title. An example of symbolism in the story would be that the judges represent fate, they were the ones who were to choose whether he would die or not. An example of alliteration would be in the sentence, “In their voracity the vermin frequently fastened their sharp fangs in my fingers.” The alliteration used was setting a horrific tone. It intensified how the man was feeling when he was trying to get the rats to break him free. The rats also happen to represent hope because they were his only way to freedom. 

Obstacles and events like the man trying to break free with the help of vermin are the main elements that create the suspense. The strory begins with the man’s first obstacle, being sentenced to death. Here the suspense is the lack of background knowledge of why he was being sentenced. . He also faced the challenge of death when he was walking across the cell. He trips on his own robe and almost falls inside the pit. 

In conclusion, ​The Pit and the Pendulum ​have many elements as to what makes it suspenseful. The title, the use of figurative language, and the challenges the man faces is what keeps the audience begging for more. 

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Suspense In The Pit And The Pendulum. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from
“Suspense In The Pit And The Pendulum.” GradesFixer, 06 Aug. 2021,
Suspense In The Pit And The Pendulum. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Oct. 2021].
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