Elements of Romance in Gothic Fiction

Elements of Romance in Gothic Fiction

Many Gothic novels contain elements of romance as well as many of the features outlined in the article ‘Elements of Gothic Fiction‘ that I posted earlier. Elements of Romance in Gothic Fiction continues this discussion by focusing on what form this romance often takes.

For me William Turner’s painting ‘Snow Storm’ exemplifies the passion and mood of much Gothic Fiction.

Elements of Romance in Gothic Fiction

Elements of romance include these:

  1. Powerful love. Heart stirring, often sudden, emotions create a life or death commitment. Many times this love is the first the character has felt with this overwhelming power.
  2. Uncertainty of reciprocation. What is the beloved thinking? Is the lover’s love returned or not?
  3. Unreturned love. Someone loves in vain (at least temporarily). Later, the love may be returned.
  4. Tension between true love and father’s control (disapproval of choice). Most often, the father of the woman disapproves of the man she loves.
  5. Lovers parted. Some obstacle arises and separates the lovers, geographically or in some other way. One of the lovers is banished, arrested, forced to flee, locked in a dungeon, or sometimes, disappears without explanation. Or, an explanation may be given (by the person opposing the lovers’ being together) that later turns out to be false.
  6. Illicit love or lust threatens the virtuous one. The young woman becomes a target of some evil man’s desires and schemes.
  7. Rival lovers or multiple suitors. One of the lovers (or even both) can have more than one person vying for affection.

I would recommend that you read Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho to see many of these elements in action. For a discussion on other features of the genre of Gothic fiction, please read Elements of Gothic Fiction. I hope you have found these articles useful for your analysis of Gothic Fiction.


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