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Gothic Literature within “The pit and the Pendulum”

Satisfactory Essays
Gothic literature was introduced by Horace Walpole in The castle of Otranto in 1764 but it was not until late 18th and early 19th century when it started to become popular and authors such as Edgar Allan Poe wrote many tales that were influenced by this way of writing. Within the story “The Pit and the Pendulum” Edgar Allan Poe blends traditional gothic elements. This tail contains many gothic aspects that it can be said that without them the story would not be gothic. Some of these aspects are the fact that in the story is happening during The Spanish Inquisition, the terror that the prisoner is living, his mental torment, the torture he is going through and being in a dark place such as a dungeon are all traditional gothic elements.
The Spanish Inquisition is one of these traditional gothic elements that are mentioned throughout this tale. Right from the beginning of the story Poe gives a hint of the setting by mentioning the inquisitional voices, but as the story continues he makes it clear that the story is taking place during the Spanish Inquisition such as when he writes “And the death just avoided was of that very character which I had regarded as fabulous and frivolous in the tales respecting the Inquisition”. By doing this Poe makes sure that the reader knows what is happening outside the dungeon and has also the purpose to contribute to the gothic mood of the tale. According to Mary Ellen Snodgrass the torture chambers of the Spanish Inquisition is a favorite gothic setting and not only Poe but other authors like Ann Radcliffe used this setting for her story ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho”.
Mental torment is another aspect of gothic literature that is used all over the story. This unnamed narrator is being mentally tormented ...

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...g, he is completely surrounded by darkness this due to the fact that he is in a dungeon. This atmosphere that the dungeon adds to the story contributes to the obscure setting which the story is suppose to have since is a gothic work.
Certainly trough “The Pit and the Pendulum” Edgar Allan Poe uses many traditional gothic elements. Those basic elements helped him to develop this gothic work as it is “The Pit and the Pendulum”.

Works Cited
Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Pit and the Pendulum.” 1843. Literature The Reader’s Choice. Ed. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Douglas Fisher, and Beverly Ann Chin. New York: Glencoe, 2007. 251-60. Print. American Literature.
Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. “Dungeons and Prisons in Gothic Literature.” Bloom’s Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 17 Mar. 2014
Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. “Terror Fiction.” Bloom’s Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 17 Mar. 2014
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