Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Manfred, the prince of Otranto, plans to marry his fifteen-year-old son Conrad to Isabella, the daughter of the marquis of Vicenza. On the day of the wedding, however, a servant runs into the hall and informs the assembled company that a huge helmet has appeared mysteriously in the courtyard of the castle. When Count Manfred and his guests rush into the courtyard, they find Conrad crushed to death beneath a gigantic helmet adorned with waving black plumes. Theodore, a young peasant, declares the helmet is like that on a statue of Prince Alfonso the Good, which stands in the chapel. Another spectator shouts that the helmet is missing from the statue. Prince Manfred imprisons the young peasant as a magician and charges him with the murder of the heir to Otranto.
That evening, Manfred sends for Isabella. He informs her that he intends to divorce his wife so that he himself might marry her and have another male heir. Frightened, Isabella runs away and loses herself in the passages beneath the castle. There she encounters Theodore, who helps her to escape through an underground passage into a nearby church. Manfred, searching for the girl, accuses the young man of aiding her. As he is threatening Theodore, servants rush up to tell the prince of a giant who is sleeping in the great hall of the castle. When Manfred returns to the hall, the giant disappears.
The following morning, Father Jerome comes to inform Manfred and his wife that Isabella took...
(The entire section is 974 words.)
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