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Elements of Suspense Becki Cox The literary genre known as horror has intrigued readers for centuries One of the masters of horror Edgar Allan Poe uses many elements to horrify and captivate his audience These elements include sense of sight and sense of hearing In the stories The Tell Tale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum Poe uses the above elements to add suspense and meaning to the theme of each tale Edgar Allan Poe uses the theme of eyes and the loss of sight in The Tell Tale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum but in dissimilar ways For example in The Tell Tale Heart an anonymous narrator kills an old man The narrators motive was the old mans vexing eye The eye was described as follows the eye resembled that of vulture-a pale blue eye with a film over it The narrator had nothing against the old man but his eye was so repulsive to his assassin that the only way it could be dealt with is by destroying the old man The narrator explains how he crept into the old mans room and proceeded to kill the old man The motive for murder is reinstated in this quote I grew furious as I gazed upon the eye I saw it with perfect distinctness-all a dull blue with a hideous veil that chilled the very marrow in my bones This was definitely a startling quote and it deepened the suspense of the story because the it interrupted the killing If the old man had not had the vexing eye there would be no reason for the narrator to murder the old man therefore leaving The Tell Tale Heart without a plot In The Pit and the Pendulum the eyes were used differently to capture the reader The narrator was a victim of the Spanish Inquisition and kept captive The narrator describes the dark vault were he is held in the
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