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What aspects of the Gothic genre are explored in the novel The Monk(TM) by Matthew Lewis

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Introduction

What aspects of the Gothic genre are explored in the novel 'The Monk' by Matthew Lewis 'The Monk' was written by Matthew Lewis in 1796, he was only 21 and a member of parliament when he wrote the book. The book explores several controversial issues such as the supernatural, demonic pacts, rape, incest, unspeakable desires and monsters. It also includes the themes of violence and gore. The supernatural was a key part of many gothic novels; this is because at the time of writing witchcraft and demonic were thought to be occurring through out the world. This meant that it was relevant to the time of writing and it was very successful in scaring the reader of that time as it played on all of their fears and suspicions. In 'The Monk' the supernatural is explored when the monk Ambrosio is given the assistance of demonic forces when his lover Matilda enters into a demonic pact. ...read more.

Middle

Monsters and the monstrous were a part of the gothic genre as they were a very effective way of scaring the reader. There are two types of monsters that feature in gothic novels; the 'real' monsters for example Frankenstein and Dracula and the monsters we become; Mr Hyde from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde for example. The only 'real' monster to feature in the novel is the demon that Ambrosio summoned to escape being burnt at the stake. The demon was described as this - "His blasted limbs still bore marks of the Almighty's thunder: A swarthy darkness spread itself over his gigantic form: His hands and feet were armed with long Talons." This very vivid description would most likely shock the reader as at the time of writing demon's and the supernatural were important issues, this makes the effect of the description on the reader even greater as they were relevant issues to the time when the novel was written and many people of that period were very frightened of the supernatural. ...read more.

Conclusion

The murders in the novel were described very vividly in the book making it even more shocking for the reader. For example, the murder of Elvira - "The monk continued to kneel upon her breast, witnessed without mercy the convulsive trembling of her limbs beneath him". Ambrosio's death was particularly graphic and gory; this was most likely due to the fact that he was the villain in the novel - "Headlong fell the monk through the airy waste; the sharp point of a rock received him; and he rolled from precipice, till, bruised and mangled, he rested on the river's banks." This description would have most certainly shocked a reader of its time as it is very graphic and clearly depicts Ambrosio's unpleasant death. The readers of the time would have been able to easily imagine what was happening to Ambrosio as he fell to his death. In conclusion, 'The Monk' is gothic because it contains many key aspects of a gothic novel; it explores the supernatural, demonic pacts, rape, incest, unspeakable desires, monsters, violence and gore. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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