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Gothic Literature Demonstrates

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Gothic literature demonstrates the consequences of disrupting the natural order of things. Consider the texts you have read in the light of this comment.

Gothic literatures have characters who disrupt the natural order, and ends up with consequences, which can be seen as negative or positive. Macbeth (pre-gothic), Wuthering Heights (traditional gothic), and The Bloody Chamber (modern gothic) show the protagonists challenging and breaking the patriarchal society, which were simple seen as the natural rules. Gothic Literature is well-known for transgression, taboo, and to challenge the bias ideas of what is acceptable. The natural order of things and seeks this order to not only demonstrate its consequences, but explore alternative to the natural order.

Shakespeare demonstrates how disrupting the natural order of things has the eventual consequence of evil and death. When the witches’ prophecy says that Macbeth will become king, he gets overcome with greed and strives for this. The words “If heaven shall have me king, why heaven shall crown me!” foreshadow how Macbeth is eager about gaining power. Macbeth and his wife then disrupt the natural order of things by murdering Duncan, with Lady Macbeth saying “Will all great Neptune’s oceans wash this blood clean from my hands?” He already feels guilty “I could not say Amen” implying that his rejection from religion as it has committed a sin because of his greed for power. This has disrupted the natural order as in the end, the horses ate each other, modern readers may suggest that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are eaten up from inside, Macbeth by despair and Lady Macbeth by madness.

Lady Macbeth also disrupts the natural order by calling spirits “Unsex me” she says, this suggests the gothic element of Taboo as in the 11th century the audience may consider her to be a witch. From a feminist spectator, it can be seen that Lady Macbeth wants to because more masculine and ‘evil’ to be able to commit a murder without feeling guilty. Lady Macbeth’s suffers the consequences by being tormented by blood. Shakespeare uses the imagery of bloody hands “Out damn spot! Out I say!” Implying that her unnatural deeds have infected her mind.

In Wuthering Heights, Catherine’s ghost draws fear within Lockwood, who could be argued as very much within the natural order of society, perhaps as the supernatural is beyond the natural order of things, however for Heathcliff, and Catherine’s ghost provides hope. The consequence of Catherine’s ghost, to Heathcliff, could be argued is hope, as he sees a chance for their reunion and the “eternal” nature of their love, beyond the temporary natural order of life and death. However because of Catherine’s decision in marrying Edgar she broke her natural order by not following her heart. “Why did you betray your own heart Cathy?” implying that Emily Bronte suggests the Romantic idea that makes this point by comparing many of the characters; for instance Heathcliff, whose origins are unknown, is definitely on the nature side, while Edgar Linton, is in the civilized side.

In Carter’s short stories, this natural order is disrupted and subverted through the empowerment of her female protagonists. Structurally, it is presented with a female protagonist who is the subject to Marquis, a gothic villain, seeming to follow the natural order of females as vulnerable and is referred as a “lamb”. However she marries the Marquis for his wealth and not for love “Are you sure you want to marry him?” her mother asks, and she response with “I want to marry him” suggest that she is greedy for wealth From a feminist perspective the Gothic may demonstrate consequences, such as vulnerability, of staying within the natural order of patriarchy. It can be debatable to say if Carter presents her female protagonist with a negative consequence. “Red mark on my forehead I am glad he cannot see it” implying that she is ashamed of her mark however she live a happy life.

The natural order of things is an ambiguous phrase, it can be interpreted in many different ways. Gothic literature, by transgressing boundaries and challenging taboos allows for much disruption of the natural order of things whether it be patriarchy, or natural order of love.

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