Baylor College Medical School

575 tc 4. The Pit and the Pendulum(short story) by Edgar Allan Poe

575 tc 4. Which aspect of the narrator's torture - physical or psychological - do you find more horrible? Why?

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I personally would find the physical aspects more horrible. Physical and psychological torture would have different effects on different people.

His punishment by the Inquisition is as much about mental torture as it is about physical discomfort, and accordingly, the narrator swings back and forth between hope and despair as well as sanity and insanity. Despite his frequent fainting fits, he is able to maintain enough of a grip on his mental facilities to survive the peril of the falling pendulum. However, by the time the walls begin to close in on him, he appears to be rapidly losing the battle for his sanity. Ultimately, his survival is not dependent on his own faculties, but it justifies the hope that characterizes his fight to stay alive throughout the ordeal.