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Castle of Otranto, The.

Castle of Otranto, The

(1764) A Gothic novel, the first of that genre in English, by Horace Walpole. The villain, Manfred, prince of Otranto, inhabits the castle of Otranto and rules the realm unlawfully; his grandfather had poisoned Alfonso, the rightful ruler, and it had been cryptically prophesied that the usurpers would prevail so long as the castle was big enough to hold the rightful ruler. Manfred plans to marry his son Conrad to Isabella, daughter of the marquis of Vicenza, but, in one of many supernatural events, Conrad is crushed to death in the courtyard by a gigantic helmet. Manfred then determines to marry Isabella himself, in the hope that she will present him with another heir, whom he needs in order to maintain control of the realm. Isabella, terrified of Manfred, is aided in her escape by the handsome young peasant Theodore. In fulfillment of the prophesy, Alfonso's ghost, grown too large for the castle, tears it down and rises from the ruin, proclaiming Theodore, the future husband of Isabella, the true heir to Otranto.

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Publication:Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, 3rd ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1987
Words:177
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