In what ways are mystery and suspense created in The Castle of Otranto?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole is considered one of the classics of Gothic fiction. The story has many of the melodramatic elements typical of Gothic fiction, including a setting in a remote castle, characters who are members of the nobility, supernatural events and portents, mistaken or mysterious identity, and somewhat flat characters, either purely good or purely evil. This is not a novel of character, but of plot, and the suspense and mystery in the story are advanced in two ways.

The first is by supernatural events and portents, such as the giant helmet, the skeletal hermit, the giant sword, and the giants. The second way the author creates suspense is by withholding information from readers and from characters in the novel, such as the identity of Theodore and the evil past of Manfred. The final method the author uses to create suspense is by putting sympathetic characters, Theodore and Isabella, in jeopardy.

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