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Gothic literature was born in 1764 when Horace Walpole published The Castle of Otranto which is considered to be the first gothic novel ever written Gothic literature was originally written as a reaction to the age of reason order and the politics of eighteenth-century England Containing anti-Catholic sentiments and mythical aspects Gothic literature explored the tension between what we fear and what we desire The stories were usually set in some kind of castle or old building that showed human decay and created an atmosphere of mystery and suspense Often one of the main characters would be some sort of damsel in distress threatened by some man The words chosen in these novels and short stories were very descriptive creating overwrought emotion and often feelings of gloom and horror Also within the plot some sort of ancient prophecy along with omens and visions could usually be found The most important elements to the structure of canonical gothic literature however are supernatural and unexplainable events In The Castle of Otranto much of the plot surrounds one unexplainable incident a giant black helmet falls on Prince Conrad thus killing him Because of Prince Conrads death Manfred his father captures a passing peasant Theodore and pursues Isabella Conrads fiancee Later it is learned that Jerome the minister is Theodores father If the helmet had never fallen on Conrad Manfred never would have stopped Theodore and Jerome would never have found his long lost son Manfred still believing that Theodore is guilty of dropping the helmet by sorcery is ready to execute him At this point in the story Isabellas long lost father appears which halts Theodores execution It is later learned that Isabellas father found her because a dream he had led him to a monk who led him to Otranto The supernatural event here is the dream which turned out to forecast reality He accuses Manfred of not being the rightful ruler of Otranto Eventually everything is
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