The Castle of Otranto

Topics: Marriage, The Castle of Otranto, Family Pages: 6 (2491 words) Published: December 20, 2010
In "The Castle Of Otranto" begins as Conrad, son of Manfred of the house of Otranto, is crushed by a giant helmet on this weeding day, also hhis birthday. Manfred, having no other male heir, decides to divorce his wfe and marry his son's wife, Isabella, himself. Manfred's union is disrupted by a series of supernatural events involving ghost, mysterious blood, and a true prince. Man, prince of Otranto, is impatient about marrying his son conrad a "homely youth, sickly, and of no promising disposition" (Walpole 17) to the marquis of Vicenza's daughter Isabella. Hippolita, Manfred's wife, is worried about marrying the young prince off so early (he is only 15), but her husband ignores her concern, only pointing to "her own sterility, who had given him but on heir" (Walpole 17). Manfred seemed quite reckless about the wedding, probably because of his "dread of seeing accomplished an ancient prophecy" (Walpole 17). The wedding ceremony was fixed for Conrad's birthday. However, when everything is ready for the "divine" office", Conrad is missing. Manfred sent a servant to look for his son, but the servant returned breathless, his eyes staring, and foaming at the mouth telling him about a giant helmet in the court. When Manfred reached the helmet, "an hundred times more large than any casque ever made for human being, and shaded with a equal quantity of black feathers" (Walpole 18). However, Manfred seemed more concerned mabout the helmet than about his son's death. While Hippolita and Conrad's eighteen year old sister, Matilda mourn the death of their son/brother, and Isabella although not sad about the loss of her future husband, for whom she had had little affection joins in their grief. Manfred's only concern was the casque in the court. A young peasant appeared and realized a strong resemblance between the casque and that of the black marble figure of Alfonso the Good, one of the former princes, in the church of St. Nicholas. Manfred became furious about this statement. But before he could punish the yound peasant, some spectators came back from the church to which they had ran and informed Manfred that the statue's helmet is missing. Manfred accused the peasant of a being a witch and gave orders to imprison him without food underneath the casque in the court. He then locked the gates of the castle and retires to his chamber. Meanwhile, Hippolita is worried about Manfred and sent Matilda to see to him. But Manfred told Matilda that does not want a daughter and sent her away. The girl, deeply hurt, returned to her mother and told her that her husband is well to calm her down. A servant appeared, informing Isabella that Manfred wants to see her. Obeying, Isabella goes to see Manfred. It is now evening, and the sevant accompanying her is carrying a torch. However, when they reached Manfred's chamber, he ordered the servant to take away the light and sent him off. He then tells Isabella about the importance of keeping up his line, cursing Hippolita for her "unfruitfulness" (Walpole 24) and therefore having decided to divorce her, and offers himself as Isabella's new husband now that his son has died. Isabella is terrified and starts from him. Manfred rises to pursue her, but suddenly sees "the plumes of the fatal helmet" at the window. Shortly after, the portrait of his grandfather exposed a deep sigh, which distracted Manfred for a moment. Isabella saw her chance and escapes, while the portrait quits its panel. Manfred was asked to follow the painting to a chamber into which it enters, but before Manfred could enter, the door closes. He then decides to pursue Isabella, who has meanwhile escaped into a underground vault that leads to the church and convent of St. Nicholas. In the labyrinth, she encounters the yound peasant, who then helps her escape through a secret trap door before Manfred, whom they can already hear, reaches them. When he does, the peasant had to explain how he could escape from the...
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