Incestuous Relationships In Gothic Literature

1487 Words6 Pages
Incestuous relationships are a common theme throughout eighteenth century gothic novels. Incest is alluded to or occurs in The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allen Poe. While these literary works are filled with dark scenery, winding passages, and elements of the supernatural in order to create an eerie and sublime feeling, none have the same effect on the reader as mentioning incest. There can be logical conclusions for supernatural occurrences, but incestuous relationships will always be morally wrong and disturbing. The theme of incest in gothic works is used to leave the reader uncomfortable in a way that cannot be put at ease by any action or justification…show more content…
The first hope for an incestuous relationship is mentioned by Manfred, the main male character. At the beginning of the novel, Manfred’s only son, whom Manfred expects to carry on his lineage, is killed. Distressed by losing his chance at continuing on the family name, Manfred looks to Isabella to have his children. Isabella was supposed to marry Manfred’s son and was thought of as part of the family since she was soon to be Manfred’s daughter-in-law. On page 24 and 25 Manfred suggests that he will make a better husband to Isabella than his son and offers her himself. “…Conrad was not worthy of your beauty…. Think no more of him, interrupted Manfred; he was a sickly puny child, and heaven has perhaps taken him away that I might not trust the honours of my house on so frail a foundation…. Instead…you shall have a husband in the prime of his age… who may expect a…show more content…
This daughter swapping makes the reader think less of both Manfred and Fredrick’s character, showing that they are truly twisted men. These men’s hopes for incestuous relationships supposedly caused a disturbance in the supernatural world. This led to weird occurrences until the end of the novel when things are finally put into balance by having a new king and Fredrick and Manfred not marrying Matilda or

More about Incestuous Relationships In Gothic Literature

Open Document