Vigyázat! Cselekményleírást tartalmaz.
The Pit and the Pendulum 5 csillagozás
The story takes place during the Spanish Inquisition. At the beginning of the story an unnamed narrator is brought to trial before various sinister judges. Poe provides no explanation of why he is there or for what he has been arrested. Before him are seven tall white candles on a table, and, as they melt, his hopes of survival also diminish. He is condemned to death and finds himself in a pitch black compartment. At first the prisoner thinks that he is locked in a tomb, but he discovers that he is in a cell. He decides to explore the cell by placing a hem from his robe against a wall so he can count the paces around the room; however, he faints before being able to measure the whole perimeter.
Eredeti megjelenés éve: 1843
A következő kiadói sorozatban jelent meg: Tale Blazers Perfection Learning angol
Nem ez az első Poe-horror, amit olvasok, de eddig ez a legborzasztóbb. Most, hogy ezt leírtam, már rá is jöttem ennek az okára: eddigi olvasmányaimban mindig valamilyen lelki történés vagy megmagyarázhatatlan, gótikus, túlvilági izé volt elborzasztó, ebben viszont a terror külső, e világi, megfogható, és igencsak valóságos. (Ami persze aztán behatol a tudatba is, meg totál szimbolikus is – ez mégiscsak Poe at his best.) Tizenkilencedik századi Fűrész, kiábrándító folytatások nélkül. Brrr.
I had swooned; but still will not say that all of consciousness was lost. What of it there remained I will not attempt to define, or even to describe; yet all was not lost. In the deepest slumber—no! In delirium—no! In a swoon—no! In death—no! even in the grave all is not lost. Else there is no immortality for man. Arousing from the most profound of slumbers, we break the gossamer web of some dream. Yet in a second afterward (so frail may that web have been) we remember not that we have dreamed. In the return to life from the swoon there are two stages: first, that of the sense of mental or spiritual; secondly, that of the sense of physical, existence. It seems probable that if, upon reaching the second stage, we could recall the impressions of the first, we should find these impressions eloquent in memories of the gulf beyond. And that gulf is—what? How at least shall we distinguish its shadows from those of the tomb? But if the impressions of what I have termed the first stage are not, at will, recalled, yet, after long interval, do they not come unbidden, while we marvel whence they come? He who has never swooned, is not he who finds strange palaces and wildly familiar faces in coals that glow; is not he who beholds floating in mid-air the sad visions that the many may not view; is not he who ponders over the perfume of some novel flower; is not he whose brain grows bewildered with the meaning of some musical cadence which has never before arrested his attention.
I longed, yet dared not, to employ my vision. I dreaded the first glance at objects around me. It was not that I feared to look upon things horrible, but that I grew aghast lest there should be nothing to see. At length, with a wild desperation at heart, I quickly unclosed my eyes. My worst thoughts, then, were confirmed. The blackness of eternal night encompassed me. I struggled for breath. The intensity of the darkness seemed to oppress and stifle me. The atmosphere was intolerably close. I still lay quietly, and made effort to exercise my reason.
Even amid the agonies of that period, the human nature craved food. With painful effort I outstretched my left arm as far as my bonds permitted, and took possession of the small remnant which had been spared me by the rats. As I put a portion of it within my lips, there rushed to my mind a halfformed thought of joy—of hope. Yet what business had I with hope? It was, as I say, a half-formed thought—man has many such, which are never completed. I felt that it was of joy—of hope; but I felt also that it had perished in its formation. In vain I struggled to perfect—to regain it. Long suffering had nearly annihilated all my ordinary powers of mind. I was an imbecile—an idiot.
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