The Gothic Elements and Motifs in The Pit and the Pendulum, a Short Story by Edgar Allan Poe

There are many aspects of gothic elements and motifs seen throughout the story of The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe. One of these elements is Terror, which is seen during and prior to his actual imprisonment. Before he sentenced to his confinement, he portrays his state of mind of fear and terror as he fears what will happen to him and how it will happen. The reader is also drawn in to how his sanity is being lost as he cannot comprehend what is happening. In the scene with the pendulum, his terror is also shown by how he struggles to break free from the ropes as the pendulum slowly drops lower and lower.

Another gothic element that is portrayed throughout the story is Entrapment and Imprisonment. This is seen when the narrator comes to his senses and is stuck in a dark cell. He fully describes his confinement in the cell and how his sanity is slowly shattering.

This provides the reader with insight on how people at the time were frightened by such a dark room filled with nothing but a pit. These aspects are also seen as he is trapped under the pendulum struggling to break free and using whatever he can to keep himself alive. His sanity again is slowly dropping as he is getting closer and closer to death.

The narrator also experiences the gothic element of Claustrophobia in his confined cell. The readers can infer that the narrator is experiencing this claustrophobia because he constantly pacing back and forth throughout the dungeon examining the length of the room.

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As he continues to pace back and forth, he starts to feel more and more trapped in the dark cell. His fear is at it’s peak when the burning hot walls slowly cave in on him creating for fear for both the narrator and the readers.

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The Gothic Elements and Motifs in The Pit and the Pendulum, a Short Story by Edgar Allan Poe. (2022, May 10). Retrieved from

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