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The Pit and The Pendulm
“The Pit and the Pendulum”
by Edgar Allen Poe
The movie “The pit and the Pendulum” was nothing at all like the book. The
movie started out as a man walked along the ocean to enter a huge castle. His sister had
moved there when she married Dom Madena, but now she was dead. The castle was used
to torture Catholics during the Inquisition. Dom Madena believes that the castle has an
atmosphere of torture thick with death, and that led to the death of his sister. The doctor
said she died of fright. They buried her in a tomb below the castle.
As child Dom Madena saw his father torture and kill his father’s brother and his
own wife. He accused them of adultery. His father didn’t torture his mother to death, he
buried her alive. Dom Madena thought that he buried his wife alive. Then one night
someone was playing the harpsichord just like his wife did. Another time a servant heard
his wife whispering to her. Then one night someone trashed her room.
Dom Madena, also called Nicholas, heard his wife calling him. He went through a
secret passageway until he entered the room of all the torturing devices. He goes to his
wife grave, which they dug up to prove she was dead, and she popped out of her grave.
She chased him through the dungeon until they met with the doctor. Then Nicholas
fainted, and his wife, who never really died, told him that it was all scheme. She and the
doctor were having an affair. He chased the doctor and he fell into a pit and died. He
stuck his wife in a torture machine out of sight and gagged her.
Then her brother came down. Nicholas seized him and put him on table below a
razor sharp pendulum. Right as it was cutting his shirt two servants busted in and threw
Nicholas into the pit with the doctor and saved him.
This movie, I think anyway, was a very poor interpretation of the short story. In
the story none every commits adultery or is buried alive. A man, or woman for all I know,
was stuck in a dungeon which he was tortured in many ways. None died in the book, but
in the movie three people died. The book had one character where the movie had seven or
eight. The story line in the book of a suffering catholic being tortured to death was altered
to make a script for a movie. The only likeness was when the two men were almost killed
by the falling pendulum, but saved at the last minute either by others or themselves. In the
end of the book the walls of iron are heated and start to push together. But right before the
person dies a French general grabs him because Toledo was just taken by the French.
The pit in the book was a hole in the middle of the cell. The captive almost fell in
it when the room was pitch black. When the walls were caving in he could of chose the
pit or the hot iron walls. The pit is supposed to be the ultimate death in the dungeon and
the captive doesn’t want to die in it.
The movie and the story were so different that if I watched the movie and read the
story without knowing the name of either I would say they had nothing at all in common.
I definitely wouldn’t know they were written by the same author.
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