Which Story Element Most Closely Belongs To Gothic Literature?



    The Gothic genre has been around for centuries, and it continues to be popular to this day. If you’re a fan of scary movies or books, chances are you’ve encountered Gothic literature. But what exactly makes a story Gothic? In this blog post, we’ll be exploring the top 5 elements of Gothic literature!

    The Atmosphere

    The Dark, Gloomy Setting

    Gothic literature is known for its dark and gloomy setting. This is often achieved through the use of descriptive language and evocative imagery. For example, in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the following description is used to set the scene: “The evening was dark and stormy. The wind howled around the castle, and the rain beat against the windows.” This creates a feeling of unease and dread in the reader, which is essential to the gothic genre.

    Eerie Music and Sound Effects

    Another important element of the gothic atmosphere is eerie music or sound effects. This can be anything from a creaking door to ominous chanting. It serves to heighten the sense of fear and suspense in the reader. An example of this can be found in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, where we are introduced to the monster with a series of creepy sound effects: “First came a violent rattling of chains, as if some gigantic creature were struggling to break them; then was heard a deep groan, followed by a heavy footfall.”

    Spooky Lighting

    Another common element in gothic literature is spooky lighting. This is often achieved through the use of candles, torches, or moonlight. It creates an eerie ambiance and adds to the sense of foreboding in the story. An example of this can be found in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” where we are introduced to the house through a description of its spooky lighting: “There was an unhealthy pallor in its cheeks… And when [the moon] shone through [the windows], there came into view a repulsive frame of human bones.”

    The Characters.

    Byronic Heroes

    The Byronic hero is a type of character that was popularized by the works of Lord Byron, a Romantic poet of the early nineteenth century. This type of hero is typically characterized as being dark, brooding, and mysterious. He is often an outsider who doesn’t quite fit in with society. The Byronic hero is also known for being passionate and intense, as well as being prone to fits of anger or despair.

    One famous example of a Byronic hero can be found in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. In this novel, the titular character is a dark, brooding vampire who lives in isolation from the rest of society. He is passionate and intense, and he has a tragic backstory that helps to explain his current state.

    Damsels in Distress

    The damsel in distress is another common archetype that appears in Gothic literature. This type of character is typically female and she finds herself in some sort of peril that she cannot escape from on her own. The damsel in distress often needs to be rescued by a male character (usually the Byronic hero).

    One famous example of a damsel in distress can be found in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. In this novel, the female protagonist Elizabeth finds herself in danger when she is kidnapped by the monster created by Victor Frankenstein. She eventually needs to be rescued by Victor himself.

    Evil Villains

    The evil villain is another common archetype that appears in Gothic literature. This type of character is typically male and he represents all that is dark and evil within the story. The evil villain often has some sort of supernatural power or ability which he uses to terrorize others. He may also have a physical deformity that makes him appear even more menacing than he already does.

    One famous example of an evil villain can be found in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. In this novella, Mr Hyde is a deformed man who commits horrific crimes against innocent people. He represents all that is dark and evil within the story, and he ultimately meets his demise at the hands of Dr Jekyll.

    The Plot.

    Love and Death

    One of the most common themes in Gothic literature is love and death. This usually takes the form of a Byronic hero who is dark, brooding, and mysterious falling in love with a damsel in distress. The relationship is often fraught with danger and ends in tragedy.

    Mystery and Intrigue

    Gothic literature is also full of mystery and intrigue. There are often hidden secrets, dark family histories, and forbidden knowledge. This adds to the atmosphere of suspense and fear.

    Betrayal and Revenge

    Another common theme in Gothic literature is betrayal and revenge. This can take many different forms, but often includes a character being betrayed by someone they trust, which leads to them seeking revenge.

    The Themes.


    One of the most common themes in Gothic literature is the battle between good and evil. This can be represented in a number of ways, such as the conflict between God and Satan, or the fight between a group of heroes and a group of villains. Many times, this battle is played out through the characters themselves, with some characters representing the forces of good and others representing the forces of evil. This theme is often used to explore the nature of human morality, and to ask questions about what it means to be truly good or truly evil.

    Religion and Supernatural

    Another common theme in Gothic literature is the role of religion and the supernatural. This can be seen in a number of ways, such as stories that deal with angels, demons, or other supernatural beings. Oftentimes, these stories will use religious symbolism to explore questions about faith, doubt, and fear. In some cases, the supernatural elements may even be used to represent different aspects of human nature, such as our capacity for both good and evil.

    Love and Loss

    Another common theme in Gothic literature is love and loss. This can be represented in a number of ways, such as through unrequited love, forbidden love, or tragic love affairs. Oftentimes, these stories will explore the dark side of love, focusing on how it can lead to obsession, jealousy, betrayal, and even murder. This theme is often used to ask questions about what we are willing to do for love, and how far we are willing to go before we lose ourselves completely.

    The Writing Style.

    Use of Imagery

    Gothic literature is known for its use of imagery to create a dark, suspenseful, and often creepy atmosphere. One example of this is the use of light and darkness to set the mood. In many gothic novels, scenes taking place in the daytime are often described as being bright and cheerful, while nighttime is associated with darkness, gloominess, and danger. This contrast creates a sense of unease and makes readers feel as if something bad is about to happen.

    Another example of Gothic imagery is the use of nature descriptions to create a feeling of paranoia or isolation. For instance, trees may be described as being twisted and gnarled, with branches reaching out like fingers ready to grab someone. Or fog may be used to obscure vision and make it difficult to see what’s ahead. This type of description not only sets the scene but also helps to build tension and suspense.

    Use of Foreshadowing

    Foreshadowing is another common element in Gothic literature. This technique is used to hint at future events or plot twists, often in a subtle way. For instance, a character might have a dream that comes true later on in the story. Or there might be small clues scattered throughout the text that point to a major revelation at the end. By using foreshadowing, authors can add an extra layer of suspense and keep readers guessing until the very end.

    Use of Symbolism

    Symbolism is also often used in Gothic literature as a way to add depth and meaning to the story. Common symbols include:

    • The color black – symbolizes death, evil, or despair

    • The color white – symbolizes purity or innocence

    • Blood – symbolizes life force or energy

    • Bats – symbolizes darkness or fear

    • Castles – symbolizes power or strength

    Using these symbols, authors can convey complex ideas without explicitly stating them outright. This allows for multiple interpretations and makes for a more interesting reading experience.


    The Gothic genre of literature is characterized by several distinct story elements that combine to create a feeling of suspense, mystery, and fear. These elements include a dark and gloomy setting, eerie music and sound effects, spooky lighting, Byronic heroes, damsels in distress, evil villains, love and death, mystery and intrigue, betrayal and revenge, good vs. evil, religion and supernatural themes, love and loss. The writing style used in Gothic literature is also unique, making use of imagery, foreshadowing, and symbolism to further create a sense of dread and unease.

    If you’re a fan of suspenseful, spine-tingling stories then the Gothic genre is definitely for you. With its combination of unique story elements and writing style, Gothic literature is sure to leave you feeling haunted long after you’ve finished reading.

    I am a professional editor who is good at fashion and entertainment articles writing. Thank you for your attention!

    Leave a Reply

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Related articles

    Recent articles