the pit and the pendulum : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

what is the theme of his short story "the pit and the pendulum." i thought it was to stand up for what you believe in, but i the narrator an atheist or does he belive in God and just disagree with the catholic church. please respond ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Anonymous, September 14, 2002


A French invading soldier of the Revolution under Napoleon who had improsoned the Pope was treated every much as harshly as an infidel by the Spanish citizenry at large. True horrors abounded on both sides during that strife. But here the question is the claustrophobic duel between his enemeies and his mind. Keeping hold of his reason and sanity in working out escape and resitance is the true battle,the true victory here, regardless if you add on that happy rescue by outside friends at the final edge of death. At the edge, the prisoner could still choose between two fates and retained his humanity in that one dark moment.

Poe relies on the still current myth of the dark side of the Inquisition, its tortures and superstititons symbolic of the worst elemts of religion and institutional power gone cruel and mad. A madness that extremely afflicts the agonizing soldier(it isn't a heroic breez! long stretches of despair and madness overcome his deep sensitivities) is greater than him and would kill himhorribly,but reason perseveres and wins time, clever successes even if those eventualities are cruelly provided for. Man vs. Fate probably deserves a better resolution but the emotional effect of the building claustrophobic, cornering struggle is powerful.

Relates to the Poe detective story in the clues and stratagems of the mind striving against the horror,the unknown.

-- Anonymous, September 19, 2002

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