For sure, both of these stories captivate those who have the pleasure of understanding the dominant themes prevalent in the pieces. Although they were written in different settings and timelines, their gothic interpretations have astounding similarities illustrated after much scrutiny if the texts.According to Harris, (24), Gothic literature is filled with obscene or supernatural scenes that elicit the reader’s imagination to the core. To start off, the stories face the conflict between characters or institutions on opposite spectrums of society. For instance, in the Castle of Otranto, Manfred is depicted with aristocratic stature initiates murderous intent coupled with revenge following the untimely demise of his son. He Blames Theodore for the death and purports to execute him with full and immediate force.
On the other hand, in the last confession of Alexander Pierce, the protagonist is from a poor and conversant background of agriculture but is against the might of the law when presented in court. Also, it is worthy to suggest that the inexperienced and ill-equipped escapees were up against Mother Nature when they wandered in the bellows of the Tasmania badlands. This harsh, inhospitable environment cannot support life; it is where the hand of death beckons any soul within its precincts. After escaping from prison, it is also clear that the eight criminals were up against the rule of colonial laws, with the enormous resources it had at its disposal. If they wanted to recapture the escaping conflicts within hours, they would have organized a massive search party after Alexander and his accomplices. Switching back to the Castel of Otranto, Isabella is also faced with uncertain or rather refute chances of escape after realizing the turbulent turn of events. She withdraws to the subterranean caverns and mazes beneath the castle, with no clue of direction, hence endangering her safety. Her inexperience and fright prove her inexperience with the environment that she was seeking solace. Such risky moves outline her determination to escape from Manfred’s tenacious grip.
Another compelling feature between the two pieces of literature is the theme of death. It is well-known mortality the fear of most men and women; hence, their inclusion serves to remind the readers not to take life for granted. In the Castle of Otranto (37), we realize that the death of the prince, Conrad ultimately twists the entire plot of events on that auspicious day of the wedding. Such different turn of events seems tough to bear, especially when Manfred was so eager to celebrate the matrimony of his beloved son. In fact, it is illustrated that Manfred was so struck by sanguine tendencies when he refused to believe his sight after seeing the gory scene of his son’s death. It is also clear that Conrad died a horrible death, with all the pieces of his body strewn all over the ground. Such gross sights heighten the tension in the plot of the story.
Crossing over to Alexander’s confession, it is also crystal clear that the theme of death is a concomitant feature in the events of the piece. The possibility of suffering cruel death was rampant in the prisons where brutal punishments and torture were the order of the day. Sarah Island was renowned for terrifying the most hardened criminals with the ongoing atrocities committed within its premises.
Furthermore, the theme of death is more vibrant after the unprecedented acts of cannibalism, where two-thirds of the escaping contingent succumbed to violent deaths and ultimately in the stomachs of their co-conspirators. It is even more shocking that Alexander Pierce was caught red-handed adjacent to a mauled corpse of his escaping partner, known as Cox, by the authorities. Such despicable killings were unheard of in the society, hence the popularity of the turn of events of that particular story. Lastly, the theme of death is materialized when the protagonist himself fell under the throngs of death when he is also executed because of his crimes.
Another intertwining theme that is evident in both literary pieces is the idea of religion, where both protagonists require the assistance of priests to prepare their souls for eternal content. Father Jerome and Father Philip Connolly are essential characters in the plots since they play a crucial role in increasing the tempo of the plot. It is astonishing that Mr. Pierce ultimately tried to confess his murderous actions away from the prison. On the other hand, father Jerome is a significant force who tries to save the life of his son, Theodore, even agreeing with Manfred to capture Isabella for his sake. It is also clear how both protagonists begin their tumultuous experience with the system due to irrelevant reasons. Alexander Pierce was caught stealing six pairs of shoes, such a minor offense compared to the harsh sentencing to the tough colonial jails. On the other hand, it is well known that Theodore had nothing to do with Conrad’s death but was vindicated by the angry rich Manfred.
Another similarity between the two pieces of literature is the consequence of ignored actions. When the judges in charge of sentencing Pierce for his crimes of escape and voluntary manslaughter while in the wilderness refused to believe the facts before the court, they indirectly contributed to the demise of Cox, who was the last victim in the daring ultimate escape attempt. If they had dealt appropriately with Pierce then, then he would not be allowed to mingle and source more accomplices to evade the trying circumstances at Sarah Island. On the other hand, in the Castle of Otranto (67), Manfred’s ill-advised revenge led to the demise of his beloved daughter, where he erroneously stabbed her thinking it was Isabella.
- Harris, Robert. “Elements of the Gothic Novel.” 2013. Print.
- Rowland, Michael. “The Last Confession of Alexander Pierce”. 2008. Print.
- Walpole, Horace. “The Castle Of Otranto.Chatto and Windus”, 1907,1-155