• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Literary Gothic

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Literary Gothic is a type of imitation of the medieval. When it was launched in the eighteenth century, gothic horror featured accounts of terrifying experiences in ancient castles, experiences connected with dungeons, secret passageways, flickering lamps, screams, moans, bloody hands, ghosts, graveyards, and loads of other things. Eventually it came to describe the macabre, mysterious, fantastic, supernatural, and, again, the terrifying, in literature more generally. Nowadays we tend to see gothic horror in the films, television, and literature. When Gothic horror made its appearance in literature, Henry Walpole was the man behind the very first book involving gothic horror, publishing The Castle of Otranto (1764), a short novel in which the basic outline is a haunted castle, a villain, mysterious deaths, supernatural happenings, a moaning portrait, a woman in distress, and "violent emotions of terror, anguish, and love". The work was tremendously popular, and imitations followed in such numbers that the Gothic novel (or romance) was probably the commonest type of fiction in England for the next half century. In this period, the best-selling author of the genre (Ann Radcliffe), the author of its most enduring novel (Mary Shelley), and the author of its most effective sendup (Jane Austen) were all women. In my opinion I think that since that day when The Castle of Otranto was released every film and book owe what they make to that author, Henry Walpole. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), which has two Gothic villains (r Frankenstein and his Creature), was inspired, as Shelley explains by reading loads of German ghost stories with her husband and Byron during bad weather on the shores of Lake Geneva. ...read more.

Middle

The piece of text we have been given is a section where Jonathon Harker has been locked in his chamber by the count. He decides to have a sleep for a couple of hours but things don't go as he planned. The basic outline is that he has a dream (which may not have been just a dream) of three beautiful women who enter the room and talk of who will "kiss" him first. Jonathon is simultaneously full of fear and lust, and does not move but continues to watch the women through half-closed eyes. One of the women leans in and begins to bite at his neck, when the Count appears suddenly and forces the women back. Outraged, the Count tells the women that Harker belongs to him. He promises them that once he is through with Jonathon, the women can have him, and then he gives them a small bag that moves as if a child is inside of it. Horrified, Jonathon loses consciousness. The scene with the three women is one of the novel's most famous moments. By making there be three women instead of just one, Stoker creates a similarity with established myths and old wives tales. The image of the three evil women reflects on the three witches in Macbeth, as well as to the three witch sisters in the Greek myth of Perseus. Harker, a modern English businessman, is encountering an evil that is ancient and in pure. We are mixed up in a world of stories and fiction. The scene also shows the vampire's power as one that is extremely sensual and sexual. ...read more.

Conclusion

We are a balance between good and evil. Most of the time we manage to control this balance from tipping on to the evil, however, when there is something to "tilt the scales" the evil side comes out. This dark side is different for every person including our friend the narrator. What may push someone "over the edge" will not necessarily have the same effect on another person. In this case, it is the "evil eye" of the old man that makes the narrator's go physco. It is this fear which brings out the worst side in people, and eventually leads our narrator to murder. The narrator plans, executes and conceals the crime, however, what he/she hides in side himself he/she cannot control and of course he/she lets slip. The narrator tells us of a disease that has heightened his/her senses" "Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heavens and in the earth. I heard many things in hell." The narrator repeatedly insists that he/she is not mad, however we soon realise that the fear of the vulture eye has made him/her mad, and has now become a victim to the evil side. Also in this quote he/she mentions "many things in hell". This could also be associated with the gothic theme. Hell is do with evil, death and destruction. A place were Satan rules and everyone that has committed sin must go. This place is full of flames and chaos. This manic macabre can be found in lots of literature today and as I have shown (especially in Dracula) way back when gothic horror first began. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Bram Stoker section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Bram Stoker essays

  1. Dracula: a novel of fin de siècle fear?

    Unlike Lucy, who as a more affluent and thus indolent Victorian lady has made no effort to improve her mind, Mina has a career and thus economic independence, and devotes her free time to teaching herself new skills. She also shows considerable strength of spirit and thought later in the

  2. Gothic Horror Stories

    character as he is a innocent and rational person, Stoker knows this because horror is his usual style of writing.

  1. How does Bram Stoker use Gothic conventions to create an atmosphere of suspense and ...

    great detail of how she is made to press her mouth against the blood spurting breast of Dracula. This creates a sickening image, which causes the reader to react in a way where he/she just wants to put the book down.

  2. What boudaries does the vampire threaten? Discuss possible answers to this question with ...

    This man belongs to me" (Stoker, p. 53). This homoeroticism transcends the accepted boundaries of sexual behavior. It was believed that same sex eroticism resulted out of sexual instincts that were "improperly correlated to the sexual organs" (Symonds qtd. Craft, p.

  1. 'No reader of 'The Woman in Black', can be left in doubt about its ...

    This reveals to us that Mr Jerome must have been feeling this same sensation in the churchyard, because just after Arthur tries to explain his sighting of 'the sick-looking woman' he describes that 'Mr Jerome looked frozen, pale, his throat moving as if he were unable to utter.'

  2. The Vampire is one of the most enduring figures in horror cinema.

    The Lost Boys are perhaps the most interesting, because their cave and their own appearance utilizes the links of Heavy Metal and Gothic: any selection of T-Shirts and album covers will reveal especially the religious imagery, of crucifix, chalice and pentagram, and even the 'Black Sabbath'.

  1. Discuss possible answers to this question with reference to at least two critical or ...

    want them; and not the other way around; using religion to justify their actions (p. 415). This behavior is all indicative of the Sedgwick homoerotic triangle. Craft argues that it is in this moment where Dracula's vampiric daughters, with a feminine form but capable of masculine penetration, are about to

  2. "The Gothic is concerned primarily with representing transgression and taboo, there is nothing more ...

    to Mary Shelley (1818) and Maturin (1820). (For example William Godwin's Caleb Williams (1794)had an overt political message intended to expose the inadequacy of "Things as they are"). During the development of the Gothic the motifs become less cliched and the themes more pertinent.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work