The Castle of Otranto
The Representation of the Castle in The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole and Dracula by Bram Stoker. 12th Grade
Gothic architecture thrived during the high and late medieval period. The upper echelons of the feudal system were so impressed by the looming cathedrals that they had their castles built in the same Gothic style. These castles are striking yet, at the same time, sinister: the grand vaulted ceilings and the flying buttresses dwarf and intimidate the serf or visitor. These were times of patriarchal power and occult beliefs, the castle symbolising many tropes that also pertain to the Gothic literary movement, such as terror, incarceration, the psyche and the supernatural.
The essay explores the role of the castle, in particular its connection to, and relationship with, the idea of hierarchy and the feudal system; vulnerability, death and the aesthetics of terror; and psychological subjugation. The main texts are The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole and Dracula by Bram Stoker. Both of these texts connect their castle with the feudal system and the ideas of fear and entrapment. Subsidiary texts are The Fall of the House of Usher, The Masque of the Red Death and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, and The Bloody Chamber, The Lady of the House of Love and The Courtship of Mr. Lyon by Angela Carter. These texts demonstrate that...
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