Dark Romanticism In The Pit And The Pendulum And The Minister’s Black Veil
There are many elements of dark romanticism scattered throughout the short stories The Pit and the Pendulum and The Minister's Black Veil. There are, however, some elements that stand out more than others, such as the use of specific words to create a darker mood. In both The Pit and the Pendulum and The Minister’s Black Veil the use of diction is important because it creates a sense of suspense and fear, leaving the reader anxious and curious to learn more about the situation the main character is in. Diction is essential not only in stories but also movies and tv shows, to create the darker mood they are trying to portray through their actions and characters.
The Pit and the Pendulum is a story by Edgar Allan Poe about a man that was tortured to confess to a crime that he did not commit. His fate was put in the hands of judges who appear “white, whiter than the sheet upon which I trace these words, and thin even to grotesqueness; thin with the intensity of their expression of firmness, of immovable resolution, of stern contempt of human torture”. “The prisoner tells of his fate as being in the hands of these unknown judges, and his condemnation being determined by them, who appear to be somewhat evil and demonic”. By the way Poe described the judges, one can see that the judges wanted the worst for him and found joy in his pain. This sentence creates a dark mood because of the words he chose to use. The word “grotesqueness” has a negative connotation, thus creating a negative mood; when he says “thin with the intensity of their expression of firmness, of immovable resolution, of stern contempt of human torture” he shows that the judges knew that their actions were harsh but they took pride in it. This creates a dark mood because it shows that his life was to be determined by merciless judges. If Poe would not have used the words that he did, his story would have a very different mood to it.
The Minister’s Black Veil, by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a story about a minister, Rev. Hooper, who surprised everyone when he wore a black veil to his services; people began to speculate the reason he was wearing the black veil and made assumptions. The veil being black is important in this story because it creates a darker mood. When the people of his church first saw him, they were frightened and confused. If the veil had been any other color, they most likely wouldn’t have questioned it. The black veil in this story represents secret sin and how people mask their sin by acting innocent. “Rev. Hooper wears a black veil in order to hide his face… just as everyone else in the community puts on a façade of righteousness and innocence in order to hide his sinfulness from the knowledge of everyone else in the community and even from themselves”. When describing Rev. Hooper’s actions, Hawthorne wrote, “With this gloomy shade before him, good Mr. Hooper walked onward, at a slow and quiet pace, stooping somewhat, and looking on the ground”. He used words with negative connotations such as “gloomy”, “slow”, “quiet”, and “stooping” to create the dark mood that is prevalent in this story.
Diction is not only important in stories, however, it is also important in TV shows. Stranger Things is a show about a young boy who goes missing on his way back home from his friend’s house. His friends and family spend the first season searching for him and stopping at nothing until they find him and return him home safely. This show takes place in 1983 in a fictional town in Indiana named Hawkins. This town is said to be a “largely quiet and uneventful town” and the “last person to be reported missing was in 1923”, which makes the perfect setting for something to go terribly wrong. In many movies, TV shows, and even real life scenarios something bad always happens in the places that it seems least likely to happen. They included this description of the town as a foreshadowing of events that will soon unravel. The audience would not have needed to know that the last person to be reported missing in their town was in 1983 if it was not going to be important to the plot of the show. This created a darker mood because the audience now knew that something bad was going to happen.
In conclusion, The Pit and the Pendulum and The Minister’s Black Veil both use specific diction to create the dark mood that they are trying to portray in their stories. This is essential because if they were to not include these dark words in their stories, the mood would have been completely different. The use of specific words to create a darker mood is not only used in stories though. It is also used in movies and TV shows, for example, Stranger Things. Without the inclusion of these words, these stories would not be what they are today.