Gothic terror. This genre of fiction is considered

Gothic literature is the literature
of love and terror. This genre of fiction is considered the new literary
movement. It has many characteristics that distinguish it amongst all available
genres in the English literature. The most significant characteristic of both,
old, and new Gothic literatures is the existence of the plot. One can argue
that without the plot, Gothic literature would make no sense. Horace Walpole
was the first Gothic writer who invented the Gothic story. His first novel, The Castle of Otranto, was plotted from
the beginning until the end. It is fair enough to say that Walpole indeed did
set the standard for all of the Gothic writers who followed him. The Castle of Otranto had the scenery,
the old castle, the protagonists along with the other characters; the romance, the
lust, the mystery, the crimes, and all of them took place in a perfect setting
that would bring terror the reader.

In Walpole’s case, his whole story
was stimulated by a dream that presented a real complication of paranormal
phenomena in his mind. Hence, the plot was very significant to present his
obscure vision of the non-rational and the unreasonable events in this story.
Framing his narrative was necessary for it to succeed, and the only way to
achieve that was through plotting. The
Castle of Otranto was structured properly in terms of the rules of melodrama.
There was nothing unnecessary in its details, and everything flowed smoothly. What
was fascinating in the story was that Walpole kept the description to the slightest,
yet he managed to deliver the whole picture to the reader clearly. He used
clear language that was not overbearing or excessive. Despite of the unpredictability in the emotions, all of the events, the
descriptions, and the mystery were perfectly framed within the horrifying amorous
plot. Doing so contributed a lot in attracting the reader, confuses, and surprises him or her
and made the story more appealing.

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Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: the latter, a most beautiful
virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda. Conrad, the son, was three years
younger, a homely youth, sickly, and of no promising disposition; yet he was
the darling of his father, who never showed any symptoms of affection to
Matilda. Manfred had contracted a marriage for his son with the Marquis of
Vicenza’s daughter, Isabella; and she had already been delivered by her
guardians into the hands of Manfred, that he might celebrate the wedding as
soon as Conrad’s infirm state of health would permit” (Walpole 73).

This preceding sentence is one of the examples of Walpole’s style
that shows the significance of plotting. Without it, there was no other way
that would make what happens in the story understandable, appealing, and

Walpole’s story had
many complicated emotions in it. Since it came from a dream, it makes the
reader sense many personal conflicts on the writer’s side. The unusual events
that occurred in the Castle of Otranto, the thriller, the mystery, all make the
reader feel the frightening phantasms and
fill the soul with surreptitious fears.
Walpole wanted the reader to experience everything in his novel, while evoking his
or her emotions and imagination to allow them to further think of more
terrifying details. “A bystander often sees more of the game than
those that play”, and this is exactly how the reader feels while following the
plot (Walpole 56).

Furthermore, the
plot needs to be combined with the other characteristics of Gothic literature
in order to draw a complete, perfect picture. The medieval setting and the
described decoration were connected immediately to the existence of the frightening
supernatural powers in the castle. Their existence was the main guide of the
mysteries that occurred inside the Castle
of Otranto. The events of the story invoke the psychological thriller in
the reader as well. Throughout the book, Walpole used supernatural wonders and mysteries. He also used clear connotations
and negative imageries from Catholicism, which is another important
characteristic of the Gothic novels.

Plot sets the
foundation to the reader, introducing him or her to the main characters. It
makes the reader know who they are, what they do, what they want, how they are
going to get what they want, and what conflicts and obstacles are hindering
them from doing so. It shows the reader their motivations, and motivates the
reader to follow them in their journey. Without knowing them, they would be
just names that make no sense to the reader. Furthermore, the action comes to
the picture due to the existence of the conflicts and the barriers, without
seeing them, the reader cannot distinguish between the characters, their
personalities, strength, weakness, and would not know who to like, who to hate,
and why. The reader cannot have a reactions to the emotions presented in the
story without the structured plot. It gives the story an introduction, a climax,
and a proper conclusion. The plot is significant in helping
the reader keep track of the events. It also can make him or her predict the
upcoming events and adds to the excitement. “Never is the reader’s attention
relaxed. The rules of the drama are almost observed throughout the conduct of
the piece” (Walpole 18).


The significance of
plotting the Gothic stories in precise comes from the un-subjectivity in the literature. Where the focus is not on one
character only, instead, on the sequence of the unexplainable events. Hence,
the plot structures the story in a very precise form in which the story occurs
and makes it engaging although it is fictional. Without it, the writer would be
limited in his or her imaginary events and wouldn’t be able to deliver the
story appropriately. Without a plot, The
Castle of Otranto would
be a story about a prince who encounters strange events in his life and finally
leaves his throne to a peasant. The plot matters to the reader because it is
how most people were taught to read and expect. The common knowledge learned is
that stories have to apt the plot structure. The reader
needs to sense the action throughout the story and finally find a natural,
neat, and perhaps a satisfying conclusion. One can defiantly see where plot is
significant and dominates the story by simply watching a movie. Plot is basically
the significant influencer behind every piece of literature. Without it, there
is no hook that attracts the reader, no conflict that coerces the protagonists
to struggle for a certain aim. Most importantly, there will be not story.

Furthermore, plot
is what makes literature interesting in the first place. Many stories might
have the same, redundant, or classic models of plots, yet each story takes the
reader in a different adventure and helps him or her build a connection with
the characters. “The plot is part obstacle course, part
free-for-all, and part relay race in which the participants run through a
cluttered labyrinth passing the baton to whomever they happen to meet” (Napier
60). In the Gothic literature, plot is curtail
to move the story forward and create the overall atmosphere of restlessness
that characterizes this genre’s stories. Another
characteristic that depends on the plot is the heavy exaggeration of the
Gothic stories that expresses states of intensity and divisions of action as
they occur.

The significance
of the plot in Gothic literature was shown in Horace Walpole’s first work and it
is still being used by the most recent Gothic writer, Stephen King, centuries
after had Walpole had sat the standards. King followed the classic gothic
elements at the beginning, then, he united them with modern events and created
a modernized form of Gothic literature. No matter if it is the old or the new
form of the literature, plot is significant in making the story readable and
lasting. Plotting contributes in broadening the horizons of the writers and
takes them into so many adventures throughout the process of writing a story. Otherwise,
it would be a dull, boring, unreadable pile of papers. After all, “Heaven mocks the short-sighted views of man”
(Walpole 104).