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The Castle of Otranto | Quotes

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1.

The next transition of his soul was to exquisite villainy.


Narrator, Chapter 1

Manfred's personality becomes one of pure darkness, and he lets his villainous mind lead his actions. His character will become a moral prototype (model) in Gothic literature.

2.

Oh! my Lord ... is my honesty the price I must pay for this dear youth's safety?


Father Jerome, Chapter 2

Manfred is requesting that the friar perform an immoral act (allowing him to marry Isabella) in order to spare his son. Though Father Jerome is a flawed character, he mostly stays within the moral boundaries at work in the novel.

3.

Heaven is no doubt displeased with your mockery of its servants. Submit yourself to the church ... heaven will not be trifled with: you see.


Father Jerome, Chapter 3

Father Jerome predicts the demise of Manfred. The supernatural and moral necessities in the novel include recognizing and, in this case, delivering portents (spiritual signs). Being able to read and willing to follow those signs is vital to characters' destinies.

4.

He put several questions to them, but was answered only by signs.


Narrator, Chapter 3

The he in the quote refers to Manfred, the responses, in the form of signs, come from the mysterious knight of the gigantic sabre and his cavalcade. Signs arouse only suspicion in Manfred. It seems that Manfred represents all that is evil and vile, whereas the cavalcade behaves morally, discomfiting Manfred and throwing doubt on his assertions.

5.

Thou traitor Prince! Isabella shall be found.


Frederic, Chapter 3

The knight does not trust Manfred and seeks to find Isabella on his own. Soon after this moment, it is revealed that the knight is really Frederic, Marquis of Vicenza, Isabella's father. As the novel progresses, Frederic's character loses the chivalrous morality he shows here and gives into temptation.

6.

Where'er a casque that suits this sword is found, / With perils is thy daughter compass'd round; / Alfonso's blood alone can save the maid, / And quiet a long restless Prince's shade.


Frederic, Chapter 4

These lines are written on the gigantic sword Frederic found under a grove of trees when he met the hermit from Joppa. Frederic, who has brought the sword with him to the castle, repeats these poetic lines, which foreshadow the future events in the novel.

7.

She bound a writing about my arm under my garments, which told me I was the son of the Count Falconara.


Theodore, Chapter 4

Theodore is speaking about his long-deceased mother. Because of her foresight, Theodore comes to Otranto and is reunited with Father Jerome, Theodore's father. Though he does not know it yet, Theodore is the rightful heir to the throne and is claiming it in front of Manfred and the crowd that has gathered around Frederic. Though Manfred sees no use in having a daughter when the novel begins, it is Theodore's mother who gives Theodore the tools he needs to overthrow Manfred and become the Prince of Otranto.

8.

It is sinful to cherish those whom heaven has doomed to destruction. A tyrant's race must be swept from the earth to the third and fourth generation.


Father Jerome, Chapter 4

Father Jerome warns Theodore not to love Matilda because her family is doomed to be destroyed. Theodore is unwilling to listen to his newfound father. He does not believe "heaven [will] visit the innocent for the crimes of the guilty." Perhaps Walpole, by making Theodore morally superior to his father, who is a friar, is poking at religious hypocrisy.

9.

Every reflection ... made on the friar's behavior, conspired to persuade him that Jerome was privy to an amour between Isabella and Theodore.


Narrator, Chapter 5

Manfred is often unsure if he can trust Father Jerome and often thinks the friar is scheming against him. Although it is untrue, Manfred is led to madness when he believes Isabella and Theodore are lovers and are being protected by the friar. Lack of trust in others is another quality that leads to Manfred's downfall.

10.

The hand! the giant! the hand!—support me! I am terrified out of my senses.


Bianca, Chapter 5

Bianca reflects the reemergence of a spiritual manifestation of the curse. The giant ghost hand functions as figurative imagery for the "hand of Providence," portrayed as a stalking presence coming for vengeance in the novel.

11.

Keep your daughter, and think no more of Isabella: The judgments ... on your house forbid me matching into it.


Frederic, Chapter 5

After hearing Bianca's descriptions of seeing a ghost's giant hand, Frederic no longer wants to follow any plan designed by Manfred. However, just moments after Frederic says this to Manfred and even though he sees that dealing with Manfred is a bad omen that can only lead to destruction, Frederic still must wrestle with temptation. He cannot shake his desire for Matilda.

12.

Wast thou delivered from bondage ... to pursue carnal delights?—Hast thou forgotten the ... sabre, and the behest of Heaven engraven on it?


Hermit, Chapter 5

The hermit from Joppa appears as a frightening specter to warn Frederic against marrying Matilda. Frederic immediately abandons the pursuit of his erotic desire. Willingness to listen to signs and heed warnings from the supernatural realm is a matter of life and death.

13.

Ah, me! I am slain! ... good Heaven, receive my soul!


Matilda, Chapter 5

Matilda cries this out after being slain by her father. Her accidental death is the final nail in Manfred's coffin as ruler of Otranto.

14.

The blood of Alfonso cried to Heaven for vengeance, and heaven has permitted its altar to be polluted by assassination, that thou mightest shed thy own blood at the foot of that prince's sepulchre!


Father Jerome, Chapter 5

Father Jerome realizes the full extent of Manfred's wrongdoings. The friar understands Manfred has crossed a moral line and must abdicate. All of the warning signs sent from the supernatural have inflicted their damage and completed their purpose.

15.

Those of a prince ... of the sovereign of Otranto. This reverend man, my father, has informed me who I am.


Theodore, Chapter 5

Theodore understands at once that he is the rightful heir of the Castle of Otranto. Although he is mourning the death of Matilda, he must continue, and he must rule his kingdom. It is his divine destiny, which in tales of chivalry is of the utmost importance.

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