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Death in Gothic Literature

            Death appears in gothic texts in many different ways. Often through the plot, setting and the characters perceptions and reactions, therefore one interpretation is that gothic literature itself has become fascinated with death. It is inevitable that death is the ultimate unknown and therefore one of the most terrifying factors of life, likewise, gothic literature is known for its horror and terror and therefore 'death' has become an archetypal convention. In Angela Carters 'The Bloody Chamber' death appears in most of the short stories, but in different ways both actually and metaphorically. In the first short story, 'the bloody chamber', it appears that the Marquis is definitely obsessed with death as we as the readers along with the narrator discover his 'chamber' of dead wives. Similarly, in "The Snow Child," the count appears to have an unhealthy fascination with death as an act of necrophilia arises at the climax of the short story. On the other hand, it can be argued that in 'The Tiger's Bride' that the fascination is not with death, but life as the girl does not show her 'naked body' to the beast until he has stripped back his fake appearance. Although gothic literature is concerned with an obsession and fascination with death, it can be seen as a usual characteristic and that possibly alternative conventions take power over it, such as the setting or supernatural.
             In 'The Bloody Chamber', it is unveiled that the Marquis has a strange obsession with death. The narrator being the Marquis's new wife discovers the forbidden chamber of women's dead bodies whilst he is away. The narrator states that the worst thing she saw was the 'dead lips smile'. This firstly shows that the death of the woman is characterized as a dead person cannot actually 'smile'. The use of this quotation implies that there is an obsession with death, and almost like the 'opera singer' enjoyed being 'strangled' by the Marquis as she remains smiling.

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