Horror vs Terror in Poe's Pit and the Pendulum and the Black Cat

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, Horror fiction, Horror and terror Pages: 4 (1676 words) Published: March 4, 2012
It is a well known fact that Edgar Allan Poe‘s stories are famous for producing horror or terror in his readers beyond description. However, it is one of this essay’s attempts to precisely describe these two characteristics present in The pit and the pendulum and The black cat. Horror may be defined as “the feeling of revulsion that usually occurs after something frightening is seen, heard, or otherwise experienced. It is the feeling one gets after coming to an awful realization or experiencing a deeply unpleasant occurrence.” On the contrary terror is described as “the feeling of dread and anticipation that precedes the horrifying experience” These two concepts are thought to be crucial when analyzing Poe’s writings. It is going to be this essay’s main aim to demonstrate how reason can prove to be more terrifying than madness and may cause a greater impact on the reader. At the beginning of these stories the reader faces two completely different narrators. In The black cat the narrator acknowledges the fact that he may be considered mad by the reader and affirms his sanity by thoroughly explaining the causes of his past behavior. It is this constant re assurance and the fact that he may compare his proceedings to ordinary events that gives the reader the hint that the narrator is truly mad. In contrast to the previous description The pit and the pendulum shows a much more honest narrator who seems entirely aware of his humanity. Instead of convincing the reader of being a common sensed character he admits to feel weak and disoriented: “I WAS sick -- sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me”. It could be said that it is this exact state of vulnerability and the fact that there is not much information about this character what makes the reader trust and empathize with the narrator from the very beginning. Regarding the scenarios in which these two characters are...

Bibliography: * Poe, E.A. Tales of mystery and imagination. Everyman’s library, 1993.
* Tzvetan Todorov. A structural approach to a literary genre. The Press of Case Western Reserve University. 1973.
* Edward H. Davidson, Poe: A Critical Study (Cambridge, Mass., 1957).
[ 5 ]. Poe, E.A. Tales of mystery and imagination. Everyman’s library, 1993. Page 567.
[ 7 ]. Poe, E.A. Tales of mystery and imagination. Everyman’s library, 1993. Page 250
[ 8 ]
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