Prof. Westengard | O628 | Fall 2022

Blog 2 Amanda Hasandjekaj


When Haggerty writes " normative … configurations of human interaction", I think he means to establish a behavior. An instance in which these configurations are challenged in Otranto is when Isabella escaped the castle with her boyfriend. This is an instance in which these configurations are challenged because it is seen as “bad behavior”. However, Manfred tries to rape her so she does what she thinks is right for herself which is escaping. Haggerty then claims that Walpole “combines the sexual anxiety of a victimized female, the incestuous desire of a libidinous male, the use of the actual physical features of the castle to represent political and sexual entrapment, and an atmosphere deftly rendered to produce terror and gloom”. A specific passage in The Castle of Otranto that embodies one or more characteristics is when Isabella almost got raped. After Manfred attempts to rape her, Theodore helps her escape to a cave where she then meets Frederic, which is her long-lost father. This shows the sexual anxiety of a victimized female because she is avoiding any potential sexual acts because she feels extreme anxiety. Therefore, she escapes. The physical features of a castle represent political and sexual entrapment. Castles are used by lords who have a lot of power to show their power and wealth through the physical features of the castle such as architectural styles. Castles could also serve as justice, administration, and a center for the local government. . Men had a lot of control over women in the eighteenth century. Manfred represented this. The power and control come from the castle and the social class since Manfred was the ruler of Otranto. A contemporary example of fiction or media that create the effects listed here as “hallmarks of gothic fiction” would be “The Pit and the Pendulum”. I remember reading about this in English class in high school. It had violent, mysterious deaths, torturous scenes, and horrific revelations.


  1. adelisaredzematovic

    Hello Amanda, I like the reading you selected for the “hallmark of gothic fiction” because I also read that in high school.

  2. Laura Westengard

    Yes, “The Pit and the Pendulum” is definitely Gothic! But it isn’t exactly contemporary. Can you think of any things you have watched or read that have been made in the last 20 years that are Gothic in some way?

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