Prof. Westengard | O628 | Fall 2022

Lashaunte Browne

In the texts I’ve read so far in gothic literature there have been a lot of similarities that reflect the very nature of the word gothic. In the castle of Otranto & Carmilla there is this sexualization of the women which was very common in the 19th century. Women were just viewed as sexual objects who were given no say in anything. Manfred wanted to marry Isabella and in her refusal he then captured her to sexually assault her, women were not seen as humans. In Carmilla it was slightly different because both leads were women so the sexualization was not as bold. But the two women would caress and kiss one another very intimately on the cheeks. There was one point in the story where Carmilla said that she wanted to become one with Laura. Another similarity was the setting, both took place in a very dark castle that was isolated for miles which is a very popular metaphor that enhances there being nowhere to run, you are just stuck in this place that is a massive time capsule. Both stories had lots of supernatural elements such as ghosts and vampires. In Carmilla, Laura at first had nightmares which then turned into reality as she believed that something was out to kill her. There was a ghost that appeared to manfred in the castle of otranto that ultimately saves Isabella from the arms of manfred. Although they are two different stories they have many elements that tie into one another. 

2 Comments

  1. Erika Gissel Naranjo

    Hi Lashaunte,

    I agree with your take on the sexualization of woman! Reading about it now in our time and age really makes you reflect on how much women went through back then. Not only that but they also had repressed sexual desires as Laura did in Carmilla.

  2. Laura Westengard

    You make a good point that sexuality is present in Gothic fiction, whether it is though sexual objectification (as in Otranto) or a kind of forbidden sexuality (as in Carmilla).

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