“The Pit and the Pendulum” also stands out as one of Poe’s most historically specific tales. Poe counteracts the placelessness of a story like “The Fall of the House of Usher” with the historical context of the Inquisition and its religious politics. This historical frame fills in for a personal history of the narrator. We do not know the specific circumstances of his arrest, nor are we given any arguments for his innocence or explanation for the barbarous cruelty of the Inquisitors. Poe’s description of the pendulum blade’s descent toward the narrator’s heart is extremely graphic, but Poe uses the portrayal of explicit violence to create a suspenseful story rather than to condemn the Inquisition. The tale suggests a political agenda only implicitly. Poe does not critique the ideological basis of the tale’s historical context. The narrative examines the physical and emotional fluctuations of the pure present, leaving historical and moral judgments to us. “The Pit and the Pendulum” is a traditional Poe story that breaks from Poe’s conventions: violent yet ultimately hopeful, graphic yet politically allusive.