The Pit and the Pendulum

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The Pit and the Pendulum

Pit and the Pendulum, The - William Mortesen.jpg

Illustration by William Mortesen.

Author Edgar Allan Poe
Published 1842-??-??
Type Fiction, Short story
Genre Horror
Themes Horror
Age Group Adult

The Pit and the Pendulum is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe and first published in 1842. This story is in the public domain.

It describes a man being tortured in various forms by the Spanish Inquisition. The story is quite fictional and doesn't accurately describe the methods of torture or execution employed by the Spanish Inquisition.


Read?Audiobook read by Basil Rathbone.

This was the second of Poe's short stories that I had read.




— This section contains spoilers! —


  • Poe's descriptions are very palpable. He really makes you feel like you're in the pit with the condemned.
  • I like the fact that the condemned is able to save himself from the pendulum through cleverness, and actually survives the pit in the end.


  • The two execution methods aren't cohesive. The pit in the dark suggests the inquisitors want their prisoners to fall to their death without witness, but the pendulum and the shrinking walls are for spectators.
  • The accidental avoidance of the pit is kind of dumb.


  • Nothing.


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