The Pit and the Pendulum

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

This was the second of Poe's short stories that I had read. I finished it on 2017-11-11.


I do not own this book, but I have listened to an audio book recording.



  • 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 execution methods don't make much sense. 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.