In literature, there are a series of genres and themes which are used to tell a larger story. This a popular form of writing from the 18th and 19th century. It focuses on a number of different themes to include: romanticism, mystery and horror. This provides the audience with another avenue of entertainment that is different from the status quo. In general, most of these works focused on short novels and stories. This is challenging conventional practices by offering a new form of writing which different. To fully understand how this shaped the world of literature requires focusing on numerous works. Together, these elements will underscore the influence this had on the various types of writing. (Hogle, 2002)
The Old English Barron
The Old English Barron is focusing on the life of Sir Phillip Harclay. He returns to his family’s castle in 18th century England and finds out that his childhood friend (Lord Arthur Lovel) has died. After this occurred, the family’s castle has been sold twice. However, no one wants to live in specific rooms and parts of it. This is because of the questionable events (such as a series of murders). The story turns into a battle of good versus evil, with Harclay representing righteousness and trying to avenge those who harmed his family. A good example of this can be seen in the passage which says, ” I were to demand strict justice, I should not be satisfied with anything less than the life of the criminal; but I am a Christian soldier, the disciple of Him who came into the world to save sinners;—for His sake. I forego my revenge, I spare the guilty. If Heaven gives him time for repentance, man should not deny it. It is my ward’s particular request, that I will not bring shame upon the house of his benefactor, the Lord Fitz-Owen, for whom he hath a filial affection and profound veneration.” (“The Old English Barron,” 2009) This is showing how gothic fiction is a struggle between different forces of good and evil. To achieve these objectives, mysticism and fantasy are intertwined with each other. These elements make it unique in comparison with traditional works from the time. (Hogle, 2002)
The Monk is about a priest who is telling a series of stories which happen to biblical figures (i.e. Lucifer, Adam, Hercules, Samson and Nero). In this case, he uses black magic and theology to enhance the entertainment value. While at the same time, he discusses each story in the form of how the various individuals were receiving favorable treatment. Yet, they were abandoned as they become corrupted by their own success and good fortune. In this aspect, these individuals are influenced by the events that unfold in their lives and the way they treat others. A good example of this can be seen in the passage which says, “For sure it is, if fortune decides to flee, / No man may stay her course or keep his hold; / Let no one trust a blind prosperity.” (Lewis, 1907) These insights are showing how the stories are combining mysticism with religion. In this case, what makes it so unique is Chaucer is augmenting theology with black magic to understand the powers that are impacting the main characters in each of the stories. (Hogle, 2002)
Clearly, gothic fiction is creating a different kind of story. This is achieved by combining mysticism, horror, romanticism and theology. The basic idea is to offer another way of entertaining the audience and informing them about key concepts (i.e. religion). Once this happens, is point they have a better understanding of what is occurring from a larger perspective. This involves looking at forces which cannot be seen. Instead, they are beneath the surface and will influence the outcome of the plot. In many ways, one could argue that these are the classic elements which are embraced by this form of writing.