Fears and Insecurities in the Gothic

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, Dracula, Gothic fiction Pages: 5 (1649 words) Published: August 31, 2013
Nick Kavo
A critical response to the following question: “The gothic tradition that began with the castle of Otranto reflects our fears and insecurities and thus continues to be appropriated into a range of cultures and contexts”. Nick Kavo

A critical response to the following question: “The gothic tradition that began with the castle of Otranto reflects our fears and insecurities and thus continues to be appropriated into a range of cultures and contexts”. Assessment task 4: Gothic Fears and Insecurities

Assessment task 4: Gothic Fears and Insecurities

The Intertexuality Gothicism has is much like a vacuum, when it is appropriated, it sucks upon the key idea’s, factors and elements of its past (originating from “the castle of Otranto”) and explodes it onto its own story plot to feed and augment itself. Although the sharing of key ideas is evident in most literary genres, Gothic Intertexuality is quite different to those of others as it subverts and perverts itself all in a hope of overthrowing questioning and undermining its significance to its culture of the day in which it is created.

Another individual factor of its intertextuality is the perverse nature of Gothicism to reflect human Fears and Insecurities. Some would say that it is human nature to be fascinated with terror. The sheer unaltered fear one can feel brings an exalted, intrigued adrenalin rush, which draws us back for more with additional fascination as to why we enjoy being in the presence of fear, crushing social norms and shifting paradigms of the times in which they were created.

The Fears and Insecurities of the gothic tradition have stood the test of time through the appropriation into a range of cultures and contexts through originally “The castle of Otranto” by Horace Walpole and such texts as “fall of the house of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe, “Dracula” by Bram Stoker, “Van Helsing” Directed by Steven Sommers.

It is no secret that us humans are scared of difference. The anxiety felt when thoughts of the foreign or the fear of the other have been conjured has been a cruel torment for years in gothic literature, scaring us out of our wits as we reflect these differences that could occur in our everyday lives.

A leading example of this is the mob mentality reaction to the birth of “Frankenstein” in Steven Sommers “Van Helsing”. In this scene he depicts Frankenstein as what the mob were describing as a “Monster”, a manifestation of evil. Although this is in comparison to what Dr Frankenstein describes “the monster” as “a triumph of science over god”. He may be a being of the supernatural perhaps, as God did not create it. Later in the film however we find this not to be the case as he has a soul evidenced by the aid he lends to Van Helsing.

This goes against the culture of the people of the time who were all Christian people abiding by the strong ruling of the Bible. They were fearful of science and what the crazy professors like Dr Frankenstein, who was an utmost representation of “the other” as he shared completely different views to that of the mob, in the ways of human progress and science. This experiment made them excruciatingly angry as it was disproving all that they believed in the Bible. In turn this created insecurities in themselves that this creation would go against God’s will and could encourage a wrath of God, as he is to be the only creator and master of life. The fear created by the mob is exaggerated to the point, that a chronic feeling of apprehension and premonition, about the impending disaster that is about to hit, consumes the people who share these views.

This fear is much reflected in contexts that we still see in cultures today, especially in heavily Muslim countries were extremists take the meanings from their book of worship and tremendously misinterpret what the first meaning was. The recent attacks from Islam extremist group “Al-Qaeda” are a perfect example of a group scared of doing wrong...
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