The Pit and The Pendulum is a compelling but very sinister story about a prisoner incarcerated during the Spanish Inquisition era. It starts out with the prisoner being found guilty of Heresy and sentenced to death. He is taken from the courtroom to his cell where he shortly passes out from exhaustion.
He eventually wakes up and tries to establish details of the place he is being held captive, the author expresses a lot of psychological anguish without exposing the character to any visual description. After his inquiry he becomes pitted against a series of deadly tasks with each one progressively harder that all navigate to the same conclusion; death. The prisoner is forced into a hard decision to make, either end his life early or prolong the inevitable by surviving a sick game at a time which still takes him to death. The character keeps inciting how suicide is a fate worse than death which is possibly a religious reference to the sin of committing suicide.
As the story evolves the character becomes exposed to the main focus of the book – the pit and the pendulum. They start to play a more vital and important role as the prisoner is subjected to the razor sharp blade of the swinging pendulum, he manages to escape after being millimetres from being torn apart. His fate appears sealed as his prison cell changes shape and the walls start to move, pushing him closer and closer to the pit. He starts to accept his death and tries to block it out but then the opposition soldiers storm the Spanish stronghold and spares his life.