Gothic Texts In Mary Shelley's The Castle Of Otranto

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Gothic texts are no longer of value due to their contextual irrelevance and simplistic content

Gothic literature is often undervalued by contemporary audiences, who may label modern texts as more complex in structure and style, or more relevant to a present-day understanding. Despite this, Gothic texts still remain of value and relevance in terms of culture, society, and the influence that they have had on contemporary works. The Gothic genre has evolved from its roots in traditional Gothic text The Castle of Otranto, to a variety of subgenres such as science fiction, via Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein, horror, through Edgar Allan Poe 's The Black Cat and The Raven, and various modern renditions and appropriations of their original texts.
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It is the foundation of all future Gothic works, and henceforth developed the simple and common stereotypes that would endure and evolve throughout modern Gothic texts. The formula of the gothic text relied typically of heavy aesthetics: the sublime, the traditional, and the horrific. Horace Walpole, author of the Castle of Otranto, wanted to take aspects of the largely unrealistic mediaeval romance genre, and combine it with elements of the modern novel, which Walpole believed followed guidelines which were too strict. This unlikely combination produced The Castle of Otranto, a novel which Walpole claimed was an old romance translated from Italian into English. Critics reviewed it favourably until Walpole 's admission in the second edition that it was an original text, rather than a republication. Romance was not a respectable genre for the modern era, particularly not when combined with superstition and fantasy. Although critics declared the emerging Gothic genre outdated, and it remained associated with Walpole 's forgery, the central elements of the novel remained highly influential on later texts, and the genre only grew in terms of authorship and …show more content…
The elements of The Castle of Otranto which would be adapted into later texts included the setting of the novel: the theme of a mystery, perhaps an ancient curse or prophecy; a large and looming castle, often characterised by a suspenseful atmosphere or haunting; the pathetic fallacy in which the gloomy weather, dark forests, and decaying buildings echo the thoughts and feelings of the characters, often providing a subtle insight into the novel and its characters. Other aspects of Walpole 's novel which continued to inspire future authors were the characters and their portrayals: the juxtaposition of a heroic male versus a villainous male, as demonstrated by Walpole with the brave Theodore and the cruel Manfred; and furthermore the juxtaposition of a innocent, young woman versus an older, more 'desperate ' woman, exemplified in the Castle of Otranto by the virginal Matilda and the wife of Manfred, Hippolita. Although they may be considered rather simple and generalised, these character types were malleable shells that authors would later adapt to fit a variety of themes and

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