Universal Fears In Gothic Literature

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Fears and uncertainties have always played a part in everyday life. They are inescapable, all consuming and despite the changing times, universal. The Gothic genre is a style of literature which is intended to invoke a sense of terror while examining the dark side of nature. But the way Gothic literature commands its impact is through confronting society with its deepest uncertainties and perceived social threats. Therefore, the Gothic cannot exist or be valued without the sublime and contextual fears as they are universally understood conditions. It is the universal fears, the use of the sublime and the lessons within this literature that allow us to value the Gothic genre. Parallel texts such as; ‘Dracula’, ‘The Strange…show more content…
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ is another Gothic text in which the protagonist epitomizes the fears and anxieties of society, similarly reflected in the sketch. The protagonist, the interchangeable Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde both fears and scorns Christianity. The text however, is consistently scattered with religious and biblical allusions, both stated and assumed. Dr Jekyll believes that ‘man is not truly one, but truly two’ (p.84). Through the course of the novel, Jekyll tries to separate the two sides of his personality but something goes wrong, instead of ‘coming forth an angel’ (p.89), Jekyll becomes the fiend Hyde. When Hyde starts to take over, Jekyll begins to trust in Christianity and pray for salvation. “The pangs of transformation had not yet done tearing him, before Henry Jekyll, with streaming tears of gratitude and remorse, had fallen upon his knees and lifted his clasped hands to God” (p.98) With alliteration, allusions to Christianity and a more formal style of English, Jekyll’s downfall is explored and as a result, he returns to God. But the good Jekyll presented was opposed in Hyde. “God Bless me, the man seem hardly human… for O my poor old Henry Jekyll if ever I read Satan’s signature upon a face, it is on that of your new friend.” (p.19) Again alliteration and biblical references are used to highlight contextual fears and touch on the…show more content…
Again set in the Victorian Era, an Age of revolution, the scientific and economic changes of this period of time also impacted on beliefs as superstitions became redundant. It is this redundancy that allows the Phantom to control the Opera Populare as no one but Christine really believes he exists. “Christine you must have been dreaming, stories like this can’t come true”. Modernity within the theatre includes new owners, with more money who have no experience with the Phantom. This leads to the death of two men as the Phantom is
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