‘Pride Comes Before a Fall.’ to What Extent Is This True of Gothic Protagonists?

1054 Words5 Pages
‘Pride comes before a fall.’ To what extent is this true of Gothic protagonists? Gothic literature often features an intense focus on the moral deterioration of a main protagonist, depicting their typical fall from a proud outset to a darker, more damaged character by the ending. This typical narrative structure can be clearly seen within ‘Macbeth’. At the start of the play, Macbeth is described as ‘brave’, ‘noble’, a ‘worthy gentleman’ and ‘valiant cousin’, and thus his proud beginnings and commendable reputation are explicitly implied. However, as the play continues, the audience becomes increasingly aware of Macbeth’s ‘vaulting ambition’, a character flaw which leads him to his fall as it leads him to murder Duncan. This fall from grace is not only highlighted through the change in his reputation and social status, as he soon becomes known as ‘black Macbeth’ and a ‘Hell-hound’, but his murder of Duncan can also be seen as a disruption of the divine right of Kings: ‘his angels will plead, trumpet-tongued, against the deep damnation of his taking off.’ Thus, there is also a similar ‘fall’ in Macbeth’s disruption of the natural religious order, playing on the contextual fears of a Jacobean audience. This realistic fear is a common element of the modern Gothic genre, as well as the following shame Macbeth experiences, which sets up a clear opposition of pride and shame between the beginning and the end of the play. This swing from one extreme of excessive reputation and pride to another extreme of shame and guilt can also be interpreted with a modern Gothic reading, as it highlights the frightening but realistic capability of man and so may incite great terror into the audience. The intense mental deterioration that occurs is exemplified in Nunn’s production of the play as the darkness and illuminated face highlights his psychological isolation. Similarly, pride can

More about ‘Pride Comes Before a Fall.’ to What Extent Is This True of Gothic Protagonists?

Open Document