Monday, August 9, 2010

The Cruelty of Being Edgar Alan Poe

I remember the first time one of Poe's books found its way into my hands. I was just a teenager and had no idea that there was a world as messed up as I thought I was (or still am?). I instantly fell in love and for the following three months I devoured anything with his name on it... The pain and agony that reflected on every single one of his short stories and poems, along with the total lack of happy endings made me sink deeper and deeper in to his world.

I decided to read everything in the order that was written and so I read and read, thinking to myself "just how cruel can he be"? Little did I know; I simply had no idea of just how much...

It was time for “The Pit and the Pendulum”, one of his few works that had no sign of the supernatural, and the critics were diverse. Some said that it was one of his softer pieces because of the ending. I was intrigued so I set out to read it, see what everyone was talking about and decide for myself.

When I was done, I realized that he could be crueler than I ever thought! This was a writer that had hooked all his readers in pain and unspeakable horror, but this was soooo different. I am actually writing this, in order to give an alternative interpretation to what Poe had in mind when he wrote this. Agree or not, this is how my poor little mind worked.

The pit, all bloody and haunted by the hundreds of lives it had already claimed, the man, mortified and seeing the end approaching inch by inch, and the pendulum, all set up and ready to harvest yet another soul. I kept reading and I must say it was the first time I ever identified as strongly as I did with the victim. The pendulum was there just a mere second away from giving the final blow and rendering the only finale fitting. I could taste the desperation, smell the fear, hear the sound of the final sway when... oh horror of horrors, a hand reached out and he was saved.

A happy ending? If thats not cruel, I don't know what is.


  1. Thank you for reminding me to bring a bit of Poe to the island morella. Also, I can't seem to recall the Pendulum itself, which will surely make for excellent reading.

  2. As my name suggests I never forgot.
    You should read it though. Creepy, trust me.


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