Gothic literature



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GOTHIC LITERATURE


The English Gothic novel began with Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto (1765). The genre takes its name from Otranto's medieval–or Gothic–setting; early Gothic novelists tended to set their novels in remote times like the Middle Ages and in remote places like Italy (Matthew Lewis's The Monk, 1796) or the Middle East (William Beckford's Vathek, 1786).

What makes a work Gothic is a combination of at least some of these elements:



  • a castle, ruined or intact, haunted or not,

  • ruined buildings which are sinister or which arouse a pleasing melancholy,

  • dungeons, underground passages, crypts, and catacombs which, in modern houses, become spooky basements or attics,

  • labyrinths, dark corridors, and winding stairs,

  • shadows, a beam of moonlight in the blackness, a flickering candle, or the only source of light failing (a candle blown out or an electric failure),

  • extreme landscapes, like rugged mountains, thick forests, or icy wastes, and extreme weather,

  • omens and ancestral curses,

  • magic, supernatural manifestations, or the suggestion of the supernatural,

  • a passion-driven, wilful villain-hero or villain,

  • a curious heroine with a tendency to faint and a need to be rescued–frequently,

  • a hero whose true identity is revealed by the end of the novel,

  • horrifying (or terrifying) events or the threat of such happenings.

The Gothic creates feelings of gloom, mystery, and suspense and tends to the dramatic and the sensational, like incest, diabolism, and nameless terrors.

http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/gothic/gothic.html

  1. there is a victim who is helpless against his torturer

  2. there is a victimizer who is associated with evil and whose powers are immense or are supernatural

  3. the setting of the gothic story is at some point within impenetrable walls (physical or psychological) to heighten the victim’s sense of hopeless isolation- the central gothic image is the cathedral or haunted mansion within which the victim is imprisoned

  4. the atmosphere is pervaded by a sense of mystery, darkness, oppressiveness, fear and doom to recreate the atmosphere of a crypt- a symbol of man’s spiritual death and a “vehicle for presenting a picture of man as eternal victim”

  5. the victim is in some way entranced or fascinated by the inscrutable power of his victimizer

http://www.scepticthomas.com/gothic/gothic.htm

A Glossary of Literary Gothic Terms



Ancestral Curse

Evil, misfortune, or harm that comes as a response to or retribution for deeds or misdeeds committed against  or by one's ancestor(s). 

A slight variation of this convention is the "burden of the past," which, like the ancestral curse, concerns misfortunes and evil befalling one as a result of another's past actions.

Anti-Catholicism

Body-Snatching (grave-robbing)

Friedrich, Caspar David Cloister Cemetery in the Snow 1817-19 Destroyed 1945, formerly in the National Gallery, Berlin



Cemetery

Cemeteries are widely used in Gothic Literature as oftentimes frightening places where revenance can occur.  Catacombs are especially evocative Gothic spaces because they enable the living to enter below ground a dark labyrinth resonating with the presences and mysteries of the dead.



Claustrophobia

Often attributed to actual physical imprisonment or entrapment, claustrophobia can also figure more generally as an indicator of the victim's sense of helplessness or horrified mental awareness of being enmeshed in some dark, inscrutable destiny. If one were to formulate a poetics of space for the gothic experience, claustrophobia would comprise a key element of that definition.



Gothic Counterfeit

Devil

Doppelgänger
Dopplegänger comes from German; literally translated, it means “doublegoer.” A dopplegänger is often the ghostly counterpart of a living person. It can also mean a double, alter ego, or even another person who has the same name.  In analyzing the dopplegänger as a psychic projection caused by unresolved anxieties, Otto Rank decribed the double as possessing traits both complementary and antithetical to the character involved.
Example: In Psycho, by Robert Bloch, Norman Bates becomes so distraught after killing his mother in a jealous rage that he gradually takes on her personality. She becomes his alter ego, and by the end of the novel has taken over his mind completely.  Other famed doubles in Gothic lore include Jekyll/Hyde, Victor Frankenstein/his monster, Caleb Williams/Falkland, and Jane Eyre/Bertha.  Perhaps the most perfect literary example of a dopplegänger can be found in Henry James' "The Jolly Corner."

Dreaming / Nightmares
Dreaming is characterized as a form of mental activity that takes place during the act of sleep.  Dreams invoke strong emotions within the dreamer, such as ecstasy, joy and terror. Dreams dredge up these deep emotions and premonitions that reflect tellingly upon the dreamer, what one might conceal during  waking hours but what emerges in sleep to haunt and arouse the dreamer.  It is most likely due to this heightened emotional state that dreams are used so often within Gothic Literature.  For by invoking dream states within their characters, authors are able to illustrate emotions on a more unmediated and, oftentimes, terrifying level.  Dreams reveal to the reader what the character is often too afraid to realize about himself or herself.  Dreaming also has an ancient relation with the act of foretelling wherein the future is glimpsed in the dream state.

Perhaps the most famous Gothic example occurs in Shelley's Frankenstein. Following two years of difficult work, Victor Frankenstein re-animates a once dead corpse.  However, the elation he expected to feel at this conquest does not occur because he is horrified at the monster's loathsome appearance.  Exhausted and saddened by his prolonged work and dashed expectations, he falls into a dream state that begins with his kissing of Elizabeth, his love.  However, this kiss changes her in the most drastic way as she transforms into the rotting corpse of Caroline, Victor's dead mother.  Upon awakening from this horrifying dream, Victor finds himself staring into the face of the monster he has created.  Multiple interpretations of this dream exist, most linking Victor's forbidden appropriation of the female act of creating life to the women in his life; it also is prophetic in a way, signalling the eventual death of Elizabeth.  On a horrifying if crude level of psychoanalytic interpretation, the dream can also be read as Mary Shelley's nightmare confrontation with her own mother, who died giving her birth.



Entrapment & Imprisonment:
A favorite horror device of the Gothic finds a person confined or trapped, such as being shackled to a floor or hidden away in some dark cell or cloister.  This sense of there being no way out contributes to the claustrophobic psychology of Gothic space.

The Explained Supernatural
Bearing close similarities to what Todorov will later term the "uncanny," the explained supernatural is a genre of the Gothic in which the laws of everyday reality remain intact and permit an explanation or even dismissal of allegedly supernatural phenomena.
Example:  In Ann Radcliffe's novels, the author allows both the character and reader to question throughout the entire novel whether the weird phenomena described are happening in a setting of known laws of nature or in a setting where miracles or supernatural intervention must be in place to account for the strange events.  At the end of the novel Radcliffe always reveals her rationalist allegiances by identifying normal explanations for what seemed supernatural events.

Exorcism

The Female Gothic


One of the earliest forms of Gothic literature, the Female Gothic often aims to socialize and educate its female readers and is usually morally conservative.   Yet the Female Gothic can also express criticism of patriarchal, male-dominated structures and serve as an expression of female independence. This form is often centered on gender differences and oppression.  Female Gothic works usually include a female protagonist who is pursued and persecuted by a villainous patriarchal figure in unfamiliar settings and terrifying landscape.  While achieving a considerable degree of terror and chills, the Female Gothic usually eschews the more overt and graphic scenes of violence and sexual perversion found in the literature of horror, often opting for the "explained supernatural" instead of the real thing. This kind of fiction first achieved controversial prominence in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.  The initial development of this form was led by writers such as Clara Reeve, Sophia Lee, and Anne Radcliffe, and then later by Mary Shelley, the Brontes and Christina Rosetti ("Goblin Market"). A durable strain of the Gothic, it can be found everywhere in later 19th and 20th century women writers and even in the Harlequin romances of today.

Grotesque
 (1)  This term originated from oddly shaped ornaments found within Roman dwellings, or grottoes, during the first century.  From a literary standpoint, this term implies a mutation of the characters, plants and/or animals.  This mutation transforms the normal features and/or behaviors  into veritable extremes that are meant to be frightening and/or disturbingly comic (Cornwell 273). Example:  An example of the term grotesque can be found within the short story "Rappaccini's Daughter."  Within the tale, the flowers found within the garden of the inventor have been mutated into beautiful harbringers of death.  While the physical features of the plants have grown more exquisite, their interior workings have become a frightening caricature of normal plant-life.
(2)  The term grotesque also defines a work in which two separate modes, comedy and tragedy, are mixed.  The result is a disturbing fiction wherein comic circumstances prelude horrific tragedy and vice versa.

The Haunted Castle or House
A dwelling that is inhabited by or visited regularly by a ghost or other supposedly supernatural being.

Incubus


The incubus is characterized as a male demon who forces himself sexually upon mortal women as they sleep.  This type of coupling is theorized to result in the subsequent births of demons, witches, sorcerers or children with noted deformities.  Legend attends that the incubus and his female counterpart, the succubus, were angels fallen from Heaven. The belief in incubii was very strong during the Middle Ages and stories of such attacks were common.
Example: In the movie Village of the Dammed an entire town suddenly lapses into a type of forced sleep state which lasts several hours.  In the weeks following awakening, it is discovered that eight women within the town are pregnant through malign means that occurred during the sleep.  Six of the eight children which result from this bizarre process are inherently evil and thrive upon the pain of others.  These children are able to read minds as well as force those in close proximity to do harm to themselves.  The children are finally destroyed but only after the loss of many innocent lives.

Inquisition



The Literature of Terror vs. the Literature of Horror:
Following a distinction drawn by Ann Radcliffe in her essay "On the Supernatural in Poetry", many critics rely upon a sharp division between the literatures of terror and horror.

        Works of terror create a sense of uncertain apprehension that leads to a complex  fear of obscure and dreadful elements (see the sublime).  The essence of terror stimulates the imagination and often challenges intellectual reasoning to arrive at a somewhat plausible explanation of this ambiguous fear and anxiety.  Resolution of the terror provides a means of escape.

        Works of horror are constructed from a maze of alarmingly concrete imagery designed to induce fear, shock, revulsion, and disgust.  Horror appeals to lower mental faculties, such as curiosity and voyeurism.  Elements of horror render the reader incapable of resolution and subject the reader's mind to a state of inescapable confusion and chaos.  The inability to intellectualize horror inflicts a sense of obscure despair.

Examples:  Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho and Matthew Lewis' The Monk, respectively, perfectly illustrate this divide between terror and horror and helped establish the distinction throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.  The former causes the reader to imagine and cross-examine those imaginings; the latter causes shock and disgust; the former aspires to the realm of high literature; the latter wallows in the low. But this distinction is not always clear in works that follow in the gothic tradition, and this uncertainty fuels critical debates about these works.



The Marvelous vs. the Uncanny
 According to Tsvetan Todorov,  a certain hesitation exists throughout a Gothic tale: the hesitation of the reader in knowing what the rules are in the game of reading.  Can our understanding of familiar perceptions of reality account for strange goings-on or do we have to appeal to the extraordinary to account for the setting and circumstances of the mysterious story?   At the novel's close, the reader makes a decision, often apart from the character's or narrator's point of view (see unreliable narrator), as to the laws that are governing the novel.  If she decides that new laws of nature must be in place for the phenomena to occur, the novel is classified in the genre of "the marvelous," also called supernatural accepted.  If she decides that the laws of nature as she knows them can remain unchanged and still allow for the phenomena described, the novel is in the genre of "the uncanny," or supernatural explained.
Examples:  Comparing the works of Horace Walpole and Clara Reeves illustrates the difference between "marvelous" and "uncanny" works.   Walpole's The Castle of Ortranto resides in the genre of the marvelous, or supernatural accepted, adopting new laws of nature for the setting and circumstances.  Clara Reeves' works, on the other hand, fall into the genre of the uncanny, or supernatural explained, citing known laws of nature as reasons for the phenomena described. She, in fact, consciously set out to rehabilitate the extravagances of Walpole's Gothic vision in Otranto.

Mist
A grouping of water particles due to a change in atmosphere.  This convention in Gothic Literature is often used to obscure objects (see Burke's notion of the sublime) by reducing visibility or to prelude the insertion of a terrifying person or thing.
Example: Within the short story "The Mist," written by Stephen King, a typical summer day in Maine is transformed into a strange new world.  An odd mist, clearly demarcated, begins to creep upon the town and by midday it has taken it over.  However, terrifying creatures ranging from insect-like birds to dog-sized spiders reside within the mist and are bent upon destroying any mortal who dares venture outside. 

Mystery

Mystery is an event or situation that appears to overwhelm understanding.  Its province is the unnatural, unmentioned, and unseen.



Examples: In Edgar Allen Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart," the narrator is haunted by the mysterious eye. The frightening eye drives the narrator insane:  "I think it was his eye . . .  He [the victim] had the eye of the vulture."  "The Fall of the House of Usher" is also filled with mystery, especially that of the unmentioned. What is the cause of Lady Madeline of Usher's malady? Why is Roderick Usher terrified of the unseen? What is the dreaded Usher family secret?

Necromancy
Necromancy is the black art of communicating with the dead.  This is usually done to obtain information about the future, but can also be used for other purposes, such as getting the dead to perform deeds of which humans are not capable.  The conjurer often stood in a circle, such as a pentagram, in order to protect himself from the dead spirit, yet he was often overpowered by the spirit.
Examples: The most famous examples of necromancy can be found in literary renditions of the Faust legend, from Marlow to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to Byron with his Manfred.  In these works, Faust not only speaks with the devil in order to strike a deal but necromantically invokes various dead, famous figures from the past for his amusement and edification.

Possession
The popularity of belief in demonic possession seems to have originated within Christian Theology during the Middle Ages.  During this time, Christians lived in fear concerning the war being waged between God and the Devil over every mortal soul.  Hence, this fear of possession seemed to culminate into an act that could be viewed by the mortal eye.  This act is defined as the forced possession of a mortal body by the Devil or one of his demons. There are two types of possesion and either can be voluntary or involuntary.  Voluntary possession seems to involve a willing exchange in the form of some compact between evil spirit and mortal, often involving wealth, power or goods; involuntary possession ocurs when the devil randomly selects an unwitting host.  The two types of possession consist of the transference of the Devil or demon directly into the mortal body or the sending of the Devil or demon into the body by a third party, usually a mortal dabbler in the dark arts.  Following the act, the possessed is said to show many symptoms including abnormal strength, personality changes, fits, convulsions, bodily odors resembling sulfur, lewd and lasviscious actions, the ability to levitate, the ability to speak in tongues or the ability to foretell future events. Many religions acknowledge the act of possession still today, most notably the Catholic Church.  There seem to be three ways in which to end a possession.  These include the voluntary departure of the possessing Devil or demon, the involuntary departure of the possessing Devil or demon through an act such as
Example:  R. L. Stevenson's "Thrawn Janet" depicts the body (later realized as a dead body) of a servant woman possessed by the devil.


The Pursued Protagonist
Refers to the idea of a pursuing force that relentlessly acts in a severely negative manner on a character.  This persecution often implies the notion of some sort of a curse or other form of terminal and utterly unavoidable damnation, a notion that usually  suggests a return or "hangover" of traditional religious ideology to chastize the character for some real or imagined wrong against the moral order.
Example: This crime and retribution pattern interestingly emerges in the work of many "free-thinkers" and political radicals of the Romantic Age, including such haunted and hounded figures as Godwin's Caleb Williams and St. Leon, Coleridge's Mariner, and Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, who both is pursued by and pursues his monster. A classic contemporary example of an infamous pursuer/pursued can be found in Anne Rice's Vampire series.  These works typically employ a villain-hero, the vampire, who is both  compelled and pursued by a greater force that causes him "to wander the earth in a state of permanent exile, persecuting others as a result of a contradiction of being which is itself the mark of his own persecution by another" (Mulvey-Roberts 115).
The Wandering Jew is perhaps the archetypically pursued/pursuing protagonist.

Pursuit of the Heroine
The pursuit of a virtuous and idealistic (and usually poetically inclined) young woman by a villain, normally portrayed as a wicked, older but still potent aristocrat. While in many early Gothic novels such a chase occurs across a Mediterranean forest and/or through a subterranean labyrinth, the pursuit of the heroine is by no means limited to these settings. This pursuit represents a threat to the young lady's ideals and morals (usually meaning her virginity), to which the heroine responds in the early works with a passive courage in the face of danger; later gothic heroines progressively become more active and occasionally effective in their attempts to escape this pursuit and indict patriarchy.
Examples:  The pursuit of the heroine can be physical, such as in Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, or more of an emotional/mental pursuit, as found in Joyce Carol Oates "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

Revenant

The return of the dead to terrorize or to settle some score with the living.

Sadism
The word “sadism” was coined to describe the writings of Donatien-Alphonse-Francois, the Marquis de Sade. Sadism is a sexual perversion where one person gains gratification by inflicting physical or mental pain on others. It can also mean a delight in torment or excessive cruelty.


Somnambulism

Romanticism/Dark Romanticism


Why does the Romantic era offer, amidst its soaring affirmations of the human imagination and the passions, powerful explorations of the dark side of human nature?  Why, right alongside (or maybe just beneath the surface of) the dreams of "natural piety," the dignity of the individual, and the redemptive power of art do we find the nightmare world of the gothic, the grotesque, and the psychotic?  Critics and literary historians have come up with three main ideas:

1.  the sleep of reason produces monsters:  the Romantic rebellion against Right Reason undermines the moral, primarily didactic role of art, opening it up to all kinds of previously forbidden or irrational and maybe even immoral subjects; an aesthetics based on the imagination can just as well lead us down a "dark chasm" as deliver us to a new paradise.

2. "reason" is in-itself a kind of sleep (Blake calls it "Newton's stony sleep"); over-reliance onrationalism will invariably breed fascination with the terms it banishes; we remember that the first gothic novels came during the zenith of the Enlightenment; this is essentially a Freudian model:  the return of repressed content to haunt the official aesthetic doctrine--the eruption of the id upon a too restrictive super-ego.

3.  "sinners in the hands of an angry God":  this theory stresses the return of traditional understandings of guilt and divine retribution upon the freethinkers of this revolutionary age; this is a rich source of terror, from Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" to Shelley's Frankenstein. James Rieger calls it the "Protestant as Prometheus" complex. (See the Wandering Jew entry.)



Supernatural Gadgetry
Supernatural gadgetry refers to the physical elements in Gothic works that represent the means by which the various supernatural beings and or powers display their presence and uncanny abilities.  Some common examples of supernatural props are "vocal and mobile portraits; veiled statues that come to life; animated skeletons; doors, gates, portals, hatchways, and other means of egress which open and close independently and inappropriately; secret messages or manuscripts delivered by specters; forbidden chambers or sealed
compartments; and casket lids seen in the act of rising" (Frank 437).
Example: Supernatural gadgetry can be found in John and A. L. Aikin's "Sir Bertrand; A Fragment".  When Sir Bertrand first attempts to enter the antique mansion, the light moves about by some unknown power, and the door mysteriously slams shut as soon as the knight enters the castle. And a casket lid mysteriously opens to reveal a sarcophogal belle dame.G

Transformations (Shape-changing) 

The metamorphosis of one being into another. Examples: H. G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau and Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde feature horrid transformations as part of their warning about the dangers of unreflective scientific progress.  King's protean It takes the convention to furthest extreme.


Freud’s Unheimlich (the Uncanny)
"For Freud, the uncanny derives its terror not from something external, alien, or unknown but--on the contrary--from something strangely familiar which defeats our efforts to separate ourselves from it" (Morris 222).
According to Freud, we find things to be uncanny (unheimlich) when they are familiar to us (heimlich or “belonging to the home") yet also somehow foreign or disturbing. Uncanny feelings can arise when something seemingly inconsequential in our everyday lives calls forth repressed content stemming from  past experience, especially experiences linking back to childhood and our passage into sexual awareness.
Examples: A non-gothic example of this train of association can be found in Virginia Woolf’s story "The Mark on the Wall."  The story in itself isn’t all that scary, but it is a good example of the uncanny. Woolf's story tells of a woman who notices a small mark on the wall just above the mantle. Rather than getting up from her chair to investigate the mark, she sits and ponders what the mark could be—exploring everything from a small nail hole to the shadow of some small protrusion. The mark itself isn’t all that unfamiliar—after all how many marks do we see upon walls on a daily basis? The mark however does evoke a number of strange thoughts within the narrator, including a lyrical meditation about people who lived in the house before her.

Another, more Gothic example is "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Gilman. Here again we see a story centered upon something that is very familiar, wallpaper, which yet evokes strange feelings and hallucinations in the character.  Many critics discuss Dickens' ghost stories as prime specimens of unheimlich.


See Freud’s seminal essay on E. T. A. Hoffman's "The Sandman" (“The Uncanny” [1919]), in which he explains Nathaniel's terrified association of the Sandman, an old and arguably benevolent device to get children to sleep, with the loss of sight.

Unreliable Narrator
A narrator tells a story and determines the story’s point of view. An unreliable narrator, however, does not understand the importance of a particular situation or makes an incorrect conclusion or assumption about an event that he/she witnesses.  An important issue in determining the The Turn of the Screw.

Vampire




http://personal.georgiasouthern.edu/~dougt/goth.html#fus

othic Tradition


Supernatural Gadgetry
Supernatural gadgetry refers to the physical elements in Gothic works that represent the means by which the various supernatural beings and or powers display their presence and uncanny abilities.  Some common examples of supernatural props are "vocal and mobile portraits; veiled statues that come to life; animated skeletons; doors, gates, portals, hatchways, and other means of egress which open and close independently and inappropriately; secret messages or manuscripts delivered by specters; forbidden chambers or sealed
compartments; and casket lids seen in the act of rising" (Frank 437).
Example: Supernatural gadgetry can be found in John and A. L. Aikin's "Sir Bertrand; A Fragment".  When Sir Bertrand first attempts to enter the antique mansion, the light moves about by some unknown power, and the door mysteriously slams shut as soon as the knight enters the castle. And a casket lid mysteriously opens to reveal a sarcophogal belle dame. Supernatural Gadgetry
Supernatural gadgetry refers to the physical elements in Gothic works that represent the means by which the various supernatural beings and or powers display their presence and uncanny abilities.  Some common examples of supernatural props are "vocal and mobile portraits; veiled statues that come to life; animated skeletons; doors, gates, portals, hatchways, and other means of egress which open and close independently and inappropriately; secret messages or manuscripts delivered by specters; forbidden chambers or sealed
compartments; and casket lids seen in the act of rising" (Frank 437).
Example: Supernatural gadgetry can be found in John and A. L. Aikin's "Sir Bertrand; A Fragment".  When Sir Bertrand first attempts to enter the antique mansion, the light moves about by some unknown power, and the door mysteriously slams shut as soon as the knight enters the castle. And a casket lid mysteriously opens to reveal a sarcophogal belle dame. Supernatural Gadgetry
Supernatural gadgetry refers to the physical elements in Gothic works that represent the means by which the various supernatural beings and or powers display their presence and uncanny abilities.  Some common examples of supernatural props are "vocal and mobile portraits; veiled statues that come to life; animated skeletons; doors, gates, portals, hatchways, and other means of egress which open and close independently and inappropriately; secret messages or manuscripts delivered by specters; forbidden chambers or sealed
compartments; and casket lids seen in the act of rising" (Frank 437).
Example: Supernatural gadgetry can be found in John and A. L. Aikin's "Sir Bertrand; A Fragment".  When Sir Bertrand first attempts to enter the antique mansion, the light moves about by some unknown power, and the door mysteriously slams shut as soon as the knight enters the castle. And a casket lid mysteriously opens to reveal a sarcophogal belle dame. [Excerpt from David R. Saliba,  A Psychology of Fe

The Gothic tradition...had its origins in 1764 with the publication of Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto. Though no one has yet offered a concise definition of gothic literature, there are several characteristics that distinguish it from other modes of writing. These characteristics belong to all gothic works:



  1. Supernatural Gadgetry

  2. Supernatural gadgetry refers to the physical elements in Gothic works that represent the means by which the various supernatural beings and or powers display their presence and uncanny abilities. Some common examples of supernatural props are "vocal and mobile portraits; veiled statues that come to life; animated skeletons; doors, gates, portals, hatchways, and other means of egress which open and close independently and inappropriately; secret messages or manuscripts delivered by specters; forbidden chambers or sealed

  3. compartments; and casket lids seen in the act of rising" (Frank 437).

  4. Example: Supernatural gadgetry can be found in John and A. L. Aikin's "Sir Bertrand; A Fragment". When Sir Bertrand first attempts to enter the antique mansion, the light moves about by some unknown power, and the door mysteriously slams shut as soon as the knight enters the castle. And a casket lid mysteriously opens to reveal a sarcophogal belle dame. there is a victim who is helpless against his torturer;

  5. there is also a victimizer who is associated with evil and whose powers are immense or supernatural;

  6. the setting of the gothic story is at some point within impenetrable walls (physical or psychological) to heighten the victim's sense of hopeless isolation--the central gothic image is the cathedral or haunted mansion within which the victim is imprisoned;

  7. the atmosphere is pervaded by a sense of mystery, darkness, oppressiveness, fear, and doom to recreate the atmosphere of a crypt--a symbol of man's spiritual death and a "vehicle for presenting a picture of man as eternal victim


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