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Indeed, the morphing torture chamber, being sentence on unknown charges, the inaccurate historical account, could be Poe's way of expressing the whole story is the struggle, fear, and valiant effort to break free of mental illness.This point is a reach, but we'll throw it out there for you to ponder. First, let's rule-out an "epigram" which is a concise, short, clever saying, which this is not; neither witty nor concise.See what you make of them:: The torture device designed to slowly descend until it kills its victim represents Time (Poe's mention of the Father Time mural on the ceiling makes this easy), and also capitulation, or mood "swings"-- from hope to hopelessness which "vibrate" his feelings of terror.
While the epigraph seems to provide a "Cliffs Notes" of the story, Poe intentionally keeps the specifics of the prisoner's charges, conviction, and reason for torture from the reader.
began in 1470s in Spain and its territories to enforce conversion to Catholicism, brutal torture to those who did not obey.
The story is about the elevated terrors experienced by an unnamed prisoner in a torture chamber, sentenced to death by sinister judges of the Spanish Inquisition.
In complete darkness, he tries to measure the slimy cell's dimensions with a torn section of his robe, sees a mural of Father Time and a knife-edged pendulum from the ceiling that gradually descends to his seemingly certain death.
We can feel the texture of the floor and ground while crawling around the perimeter of the cell with him, feel the panic of the descending, hissing pendulum, his forced utter stillness and the sound of the gnawing rats loosening the rancid meat-scented straps, the horror at discovering what's contained in the pit, the shrinking molten-hot torture chamber, and "my soul found vent in one loud, long, and final scream of despair." We feel, see, smell, and particularly hear as he does... Comparable to screaming, the affect is a heightened sense of OUR senses along with the prisoner's!
The following are in their order of appearance in the story.The difference between an "epitaph" and "epigraph": Both are profound quotes, poems or statements, the difference relates to where they appear.An "epitaph" is inscribed on a tombstone or plaque; an "epigraph" appears at the opening of a literary composition.Translation: Here an unholy mob of torturers with an insatiable thirst for innocent blood, once fed their long frenzy.Now our homeland is safe, the funeral cave destroyed, and life and health appear where dreadful death once was.He's completely bound to a wooden board, except for his left elbow to hand, enough to drink a beverage and eat, before scattering the rancid meat on the straps to entice rats to gnaw his way to freedom, just as the pendulum makes body contact.The walls become red-hot, the room shrinks him so he has nowhere to go but the molten pit of iron, when all of a sudden trumpets sound and the French Army, General Lasalle at the helm, rescues him from the evil Inquisition prison. As good as can be expected in Poe's sensory horror thriller-- or is it all a hallucination tripped by mental illness?(1832) is one of Edgar Allan Poe's best known gothic tales, offering plenty of literary allusions and a particularly graphic narrative.We hope this study guide is useful for teachers and students to more fully appreciate the story.Poe's story is in the darkest reaches of Dark Romanticism, in the genre of Gothic Literature due to its focus on pure terror, utter despair, and physical torture.Poe brilliantly applied his personal experience suffering from mental illness to his canon of works, so readers become emersed in his senses of madness, obsession with death, and the supernatural.