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One of Poe’s more popular stories, “The Pit and the Pendulum”, describes the days a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition spends in a torture chamber.
First published in 1842, this story focuses on human sensation, which was unusual for Poe, who tended to thread his stories around supernatural events. The narrator is trapped inside a dark cell, after being condemned to death. He faints due to anguish before being able to explore the chamber, which he later concludes it’s perimeter to measure 100 steps. He also finds that there is a pit right in the centre of the cell with water at the bottom. The poor narrator is going mad with his thoughts of hope, survival, death, so he looses consciousness once more. As he awakens he sees a painting of Father Time on the ceiling and hanging from the figure is a gigantic scythe-like pendulum swinging slowly back and forth. The pendulum is inexorably sliding downwards and will eventually kill him. Yet, the doomed man gets help from the rats who infest his chamber…
The rest of the story is for you to find out!
Luisa Catucci’s piece for “The Pit and the Pendulum” is not only aesthetically accurate of the second half of the 19th century, but takes inspiration from the original illustration for Edgar Allan Poe’s story by Harry Clarke, first printed in 1919. Remember, we open THIS Friday, dress sharp and until then!!!