The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Body as a Site of Horror College

Horror can be defined as the feeling excited by something shocking or fear-inducing[1]. The physical or represented form of the body certainly can induce these feelings given the appropriate circumstances and contexts. The present paper will discuss the possibility of the body as a site of horror, not only physically but also within the mind, such as the corruption of morality and the effects this has regarding the body. This will involve the inclusion of the gothic tropes of entrapment and monstrosity, and how these may enhance the elements of horror within the body.

Other definitions of horror state that it is constructed from ‘alarmingly concrete imagery designed to induce fear, shock, revulsion and disgust’[2],[3]. Fred Botting notes that ‘horror is evoked by encounters with objects and actions that are not so much threatening as taboo’[4] and states that ‘horror appears when fears come a little too close to home’[5]. In other words, immoral objects and actions that are restricted in society, and the reality of why they are prohibited is what induces the fear associated with horror. Douglass H. Thompson claims that ‘elements of horror render the reader incapable of resolution and subject the reader’s mind to a state of...

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