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The Pit and the Pendulum
The Pit and the Pendulum
by Edgar Allan Poe
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Guide Mentor

Character Role Analysis

The Soul

Again and again throughout "The Pit and the Pendulum," the narrator speaks of his soul as an entity apart from himself. We get the idea that the "soul" is the seat of the protagonist's reason and is the power that animates him. "Very suddenly there came back to my soul motion and sound," he tells us upon first waking up in his cell and later comes "a rushing revival of soul and a successful effort to move" (5).

So, although he's essentially aimless, alone, and without a guide, it's his soul that inspires even the most futile of his actions. We read: "But my soul took a wild interest in trifles, and I busied myself in endeavours to account for the error I had committed in my measurement. The truth at length flashed upon me" (16). It's this "wild interest in trifles" that keeps his mind chugging, and no doubt helps when it comes time to break free from his bonds. Could a truly dull, objectless mind have used disgusting rats to save itself? Unlikely.


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