The Sublime And Supernatural In The Gothic.

1123 words - 4 pages

Important Elements in Gothic LiteratureThe gothic genre, as with all genres, is made up of many elements and concepts resulting in a massively broad and varied spectrum; including the supernatural, the sublime and horror to name but a few of the more common and generally fundamental ones. Some concepts may be clearly overt, and others will be more discreetly manipulated, but nevertheless a gothic text will more often than not include many of these elements.The definition of the sublime has long been a contested term, but the idea of this key concept is essential to an understanding of gothic poetics and, especially, the attempt to defend or justify the literature of terror. In basic terms the sublime is an overpowering sense of the greatness and power of nature, which can be uplifting, awe-inspiring and terrifying, caused by experience of beauty, vastness or grandeur. Sublime moments lead us to consider the place of humanity in the universe, and the power exhibited in the world. We see an example of gothic usurpation of a Romantically sublime space in the monster's interruption of Victor's Alpine reveries in Frankenstein. In terms of the supernatural in the gothic genre, it generally appears in the form of some kind of other than natural being or object, such as a vampire or ghost, which is frightening due to its refusal to adhere to the laws of nature, God or man. Returning to Frankenstein, it could be argued that there is no element of the supernatural, or alternatively that the creature is supernatural by virtue of its being a composition of dead parts then re-animated by 'ungodly' means.Elements of the supernatural may seem to be almost an obligatory component of the gothic tale. In every day vocabulary the word 'supernatural' generally suggests something ghostly or unexplained - and there are plenty of such examples to choose from in the gothic repertoire. On a closer examination, the word itself suggests also a rather deeper level of meaning: beyond that of the natural, rationally explainable world.Turning to Shakespeare, in an appropriate starting point for any gothic consideration of the supernatural dimension of human experience, Hamlet reminds his friend Horatio:There are more things in Heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy(1 V 167-168)In this expanded sense the supernatural relates to another favourite gothic, and Romantic, concept: the sublime. Edmund Burke's A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757) was a particularly influential treatise in this context, focussing on the human reaction to an overwhelming experience that transcends everyday normality. It is hardly surprising that Burke's words had such an impact, as they succinctly state what so much gothic art was striving for with greater or lesser degrees of success.Whilst we contemplate so vast an object, under the arm, as it were, of almighty power, and invested on every side with omnipresence, we shrink...

Find Another Essay On The Sublime and Supernatural in the Gothic.

Fate and The Supernatural in Macbeth

1049 words - 4 pages What will, and will not, happen in the future can never be known for certain, but what if the possibility was available? Believable or not, Shakespeare portrays the role of fate in Macbeth and the significance of the supernatural. In the play, Macbeth is given prophecies concerning his fate from the weird sisters, three witches who represent the supernatural throughout the play. Macbeth’s belief in the witches’ prophecies leads him to

The Supernatural In Macbeth Essay

1924 words - 8 pages The Supernatural and its’ affect in the play Macbeth The supernatural has always fascinated and continues to intrigue mankind. In many of Shakespeare’s plays, he uses the supernatural to strengthen a particular scene or to influence the impression the audience has about someone or something. This was not strange or uncommon in Shakespeare’s time. In fact, during the 1500s, many people still believed in witches and witchcraft. Even in today’s

The Supernatural in Hamlet

3202 words - 13 pages before we find Shakespeare engaged on Hamlet, the second of the great plays with an important Supernatural element, and, in the opinion of many, the greatest tragedy ever penned. What a profound change has come over his attitude towards the Unseen! No longer does he handle it in . . . [a] cheerful, jocular, irresponsible spirit. . . . Shakespeare’s attitude towards the Supernatural coincides, as we should expect, with his general view of life

The Supernatural in Macbeth

787 words - 3 pages Jasneet KaurMs.PolisanoENG-3UN-03Monday, July 7th 2014Uniforms Lead to SuccessStudents wearing school uniforms is the same as an adult putting on a suit to go to work. Dressing in a certain way for a certain job gets one prepared for the day's tasks. Whether or not school uniform should be implemented into schools is a very controversial and much debated upon topic. School uniforms have been around just as long as school systems themselves

Critically analyse the treatment of the sexually sublime in 'Zofloya' and 'The Monk'

1621 words - 6 pages In Gothic novels sublime sexuality is an out of control element that drives the affected characters to destruction. This is especially true of Lewis's The Monk and Dacre's Zofloya. Both novels stress fearless sexuality and expressions beyond the limitations of everyday life. Dacre's protagonist is a mother hating triple murderess who dreams of sexual congress with a demon of colour. Whilst Lewis's monk is a corrupt, murdering, sexual predator

Some Notes Concerning Affections and the Sublime in the Work of Jonathan Edward

4646 words - 19 pages Some Notes Concerning Affections and the Sublime in the Work of Jonathan Edward Jonathan Edwards’s attention to the separation of the body from the soul combined with his efforts to account for the spirit of revivalism during the “Great Awakening” implicates the sublime as both a rhetorical tool and psychological experience that, in either case, foregrounds the relationship between an individual’s perception of the self and his or her

Linking Magical Realism and the Sublime in A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

1020 words - 4 pages Linking Magical Realism and the Sublime in A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings       Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" links Magical Realism and Sublime literature to one another in such a way that Magical Realism seems to be a genre of the Sublime. This short story was published with a collection of other stories entitled Leaf Storm and Other Stories in 1955. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a native Columbian, has accomplished a

Photography and The Gothic

991 words - 4 pages of any sign of human activity and utilize soft lighting associated with virtue and goodness. This collection shows the distant and sublime before contact with other gothic themes that cause a darker scene to unfold. In many novels, such as The Turn of the Screw and The Mysteries of Udolpho, the role of the sublime is not to induce a power of nature in a familiar way but to use nature as an agent or conduit of the supernatural. Both The Turn of

Burke’s Sublime In O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins

1512 words - 7 pages the power of the Ocean. The Ocean is depicted throughout the novel as something enormous and powerful. The way the Ocean is seen demonstrates an example of the Burkeian Sublime. According to Burke, the Sublime is an experience that comes from authority and power. A common example for the Burkeian Sublime is looking at the power of mountains. Mountains are Sublime because they’re large in size, and have the power to kill people. Therefore, through

The Supernatural in Shakespeare's Works

1728 words - 7 pages The Supernatural in Shakespeare's Works No one questions the fact that William Shakespeare is a pure genius when it comes to creating immortal characters whose characteristics transcends those of the normal supernatural beings, but most students of literature agree that his uses of the supernatural aren’t merely figments of his creative imagination. Every man, woman, and child is influenced by the age into which they are born and Shakespeare

Depictions of the Literary Sublime

1148 words - 5 pages The representation of sublimity in William Wordsworth’s “I wandered lonely as a cloud,” Percy Shelley’s “To a Sky-Lark,” and Gerald Hopkins “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” is characterized by the beauty and forms of nature, the power of nature, and the use of metaphors in descriptive passages. They use the sublime to express the grandeur of nature and to describe specific objects of nature. The writers also employ the sublime as a way to

Similar Essays

The Sublime In Tintern Abbey Essay

3690 words - 15 pages The Sublime in "Tintern Abbey" Lifting from Longinus, Burke, and Kant -- authors whose works Wordsworth would have read or known, perhaps indirectly, through Coleridge -- I want to look at how our reading of this nuanced term is necessarily problematic and difficult to pin down. Is the sublime a stylistic convention of visual representation? Is it a literary trope? Is it a verbal ruse? Or is the sublime a conceptual category defying

Magical Realism And The Sublime In The Circular Ruins

1260 words - 5 pages Magical Realism and the Sublime in The Circular Ruins         Among the many short stories that the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges has written, "The Circular Ruins" was published in 1964 in a collection of his works entitled Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings. Even though "The Circular Ruins" may be classified as a Magical Realist text, one may wonder if this short story could be classified as the Sublime as well. By

Characterization, Identities, And The Supernatural In Otranto

2195 words - 9 pages I'll encounter a “Manfred” or “Theodore” on the street, or will witness the supernatural appearance of a gigantic plumed helmet. Rather, I use the word “realistic” to say that the characters act and respond in a way that accurately reflects social expectations within the time period. The character of Hippolita perfectly displays these expectations. Wedded to the incestuous Manfred, and soon to be cast aside, she admits to her daughter that

The Supernatural In And Surrounding Macbeth

2377 words - 10 pages The supernatural tends to play a large part in many of Shakespeare's plays. From The Tempest to Hamlet, different supernatural themes are explored and presented to further the plot along. The supernatural plays n extremely large and important role in Macbeth. In Macbeth, there are instances of witchcraft, hallucinations, and even ghosts. But what exactly is the supernatural and how does it move the plot? By examining the play we can see that the