Prof. Westengard | O628 | Fall 2022

Blog 5

There are many overlapping elements in the stories read in the semester so far. One of the main themes is the presence of the supernatural. In the Castle of Otranto, there was a prophecy that speaks to the end of Manfred as king of Otranto. This prophesy first has an effect on the plot when Manfred’s son Conrad gets crushed to death by a statues helmet. This adds to the supernatural element because logically, piece of the statue cannot move on its own. And considering it was humanly impossible to move a piece of such weight, it implied that something supernatural was at work. The Vampyre and Carmilla, the supernatural element was also present because Carmilla and Lord Ruthven were a centuries old vampires who drained the blood of many young girls. In addition, Carmilla turned into the form of a black cat whenever it was time to drink the blood of the young girls. Another element seen in the stories alongside the supernatural is religion. In many of the stories religion is used to combat the negative things that were happening. In Carmilla, Laura’s father believed that the mysterious disease in the village would not find its way to them because he believed God would take care of them. In fact, his religious view would blind him from seeing Camilla’s true nature at times. In Castle of Otranto, religion was used to govern between right and wrong. Father Jerome often warned Manfred of his unholy desires and Matilda uses her faith to guide her actions. Religion was used as a guide of morality and those who went against their religious morals ended up losing in the end.

1 Comment

  1. Laura Westengard

    Yes, you have describe two of the central characteristics of Gothic fiction–the supernatural and religion! We have focused on British Gothic fiction so far, but now we are going to read U.S. Gothic texts. It will be interesting to see how these characteristics in the U.S. texts compare to what you have observed so far.

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