Gothic Setting in Poe Literature

1301 Words6 Pages
In Gothic literature, the setting often plays an important role in the development of the plot and characters of the story. It is commonly characterized by having an atmosphere filled with suspense, terror, darkness and mystery. The setting is not only characterized by the physical location, but also by the social or psychological state of the characters. The personalities of the characters are usually strange or fearful, and this if reflected in the atmosphere of the story. One popular technique writers of Gothic fiction use to create such an atmosphere is to have story told through a madman or madwoman’s perspective. Madness suggests humanity's encounter with the fantastic side of reality that defies human reason. In Charlotte Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the main character’s psychological disorder directly influences the development and elucidation of the plot. Similarly, in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” Montresor’s narrative further influences the plot because it is explained through a sinister mind long after the event took place. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Cask of Amontillado,” the narrator’s disturbing minds have a direct impact on the development of the menacing atmosphere. Using this type narration also allows the author express a central message in the story. In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the reader is introduced to a young lady suffering from some sort of mental of illness. This is revealed this by her husband, who is a high standing physician, when he insisted “there is really nothing the matter with one temporary nervous depression.” Her brother, another high standing physician, agrees, so she takes medication and is restricted from working. Her condition leads the reader to question the reliability of the narrative. Just like the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the reader is forced to question the narrator in “The Cask of
Open Document