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The central character of "A Descent into the Maelström" is an admirable figure who displays intelligence, courage, and calm under pressure. Like the narrator of "The Pit and the Pendulum," he defies his impending death and is the only survivor of the three brothers due to his rational nature and presence of mind. Even before he reveals his story to the narrator, he shows himself to be far more capable than he modestly describes. He calls himself weak and afraid, but he lies down casually next to the edge of a tall cliff, thus impressing both readers and the narrator with his nonchalant bravery. The man's account of his old habit of braving the Maelström in order to fish and of his experience with the Maelström is merely a corroboration of the character he establishes in the opening paragraphs.