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The Pit and the Pendulum
The Pit and the Pendulum
by Edgar Allan Poe
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Protagonist

Character Role Analysis

The Narrator

Poe's narrator makes for an interesting hero, seeing as he really can't do much other than survive. He's a powerless protagonist from the very beginning, and though he fights to free himself from the various evil machinations of the Inquisition, even then he realizes that he can't win. On a storytelling level, too, Poe's narrator gives up the element of surprise; he lets us know that he's made it out alive in the very first paragraph. We can rest – or read – assured that he survives. All this being said, the story that our narrator tells isn't weakened by these narrative quirks. If anything, they allow him to focus more on what he felt and on what thoughts those feelings stirred up. Sure, he needs a little help from his friend General Lasalle, but it's his story from start to finish.


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