Discuss any three themes in The Castle Of Otranto by Horace Walpole. (NECO JUNE/JULY 2016) 

The Castle of Otranto is built around Manfred's desperation to uphold his beloved status. The book begins on the wedding-day of his sickly son Conrad and princess Isabella. Shortly before the wedding, however, Conrad is crushed to death by a gigantic helmet that falls on him from above. This inexplicable event is particularly ominous in light of an ancient prophecy "That the castle and lordship of Otranto should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it". Manfred, terrified that Conrad's death signals the beginning of the end for his line, resolves to avert destruction by marrying Isabella himself while divorcing his current wife Hippolita, who he feels has failed to bear him a proper heir.

[THEME 1] The Castle:- The castle can be tagged one of the themes of the novel The Castle of Otranto. The title and the context of the story in totality give the castle another dimension. It can also be added that the castle is almost a hyperbole in itself. The disproportionate size of the castle has such a central and important role. The castle does not really belong to Manfred's family, this is why he wanted to marry Conrad to Isabella. It would seem that the castle rejects Manfred, because it is the symbol of the rightful owner’s family. The castle becomes some kind of a character of its own. 

[THEME 2] The Escape:-The novel portrays Isabella a pure virtuous female who symbolises innocence while Manfred represents a perfidious being who longs after a innocent young woman and wants to divorce his wife and marry his daughter-in-law. Isabella is not the only character who tries to escape from Manfred’s dubious plans. Matilda does too, but not in the same way. She disobeys her father and helps Theodore in his plans to break free. 

[THEME 3] The Doppleganger:- Matilda and Isabella’s resemblance is striking. Not only do they share beauty and charm (“Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: the latter, a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda.”52 ; “beauteous and all perfect as [Isabella’s] form is”53) but they also share the same status of pious and virgin young girls. They also act in a very similar way, when they are together they usually do the exact same thing and are referred to as a group. The answer to the question above is made possible with the assistance of the indept article titled:- "The Castle Of Otranto: The First Gothic Novel - DUMAS - CNRS"

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