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Course Hero, "The Castle of Otranto Study Guide," April 27, 2018, accessed June 19, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Castle-of-Otranto/.

The Castle of Otranto | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Between 1095–1243

    Conrad is killed by a mysterious, supernatural helmet moments before his wedding to Isabella.

    Chapter 1
  • Moments later

    Manfred accuses a peasant of using magic to kill Conrad and imprisons the peasant in the helmet.

    Chapter 1
  • The same evening

    Manfred tells Isabella he wants to divorce his wife Hippolita and marry Isabella.

    Chapter 1
  • Immediately following

    Isabella flees the castle through a trapdoor in the basement with fortuitous help from the peasant.

    Chapter 1
  • Moments later

    Manfred catches the peasant (Theodore) outside the trapdoor and locks him in a room for the night.

    Chapter 1
  • Deep in the night

    Matilda and the peasant (Theodore) speak to each other from their chamber windows.

    Chapter 2
  • The next morning

    Father Jerome comes to the castle to tell Manfred that Isabella wishes to cut ties with the family.

    Chapter 2
  • Moments later

    Suspecting the peasant (Theodore) and Isabella are involved, Manfred decides to execute him.

    Chapter 2
  • Soon after

    A birthmark reveals Theodore is Father Jerome's son; Manfred spares him in exchange for Isabella.

    Chapter 2
  • A little while later

    A knight arrives to rescue Isabella and challenge Manfred's ownership of the castle.

    Chapter 3
  • Moments later

    Manfred invites the knight to come inside, discuss the situation, and avoid bloodshed.

    Chapter 3
  • Soon after

    Father Jerome arrives to say Isabella is missing, and everyone rushes out to find her.

    Chapter 3
  • Meanwhile

    Matilda frees Theodore from prison, and he is the one to accidentally find Isabella in a cave.

    Chapter 3
  • A while later

    Theodore wounds the knight, who turns out to be Frederic, Marquis of Vicenza, Isabella's father.

    Chapter 3
  • The next day

    Frederic agrees to Manfred's double wedding, and Alfonso the Good's statue bleeds to protest it.

    Chapter 4
  • At the same time

    Hippolita agrees to divorce Manfred so he can marry Isabella, and for Frederic to marry Matilda.

    Chapter 4
  • A little later

    Frederic changes his mind after Bianca sees a ghost's hand, but he is still tempted to marry Matilda.

    Chapter 5
  • Later the same evening

    The hermit's ghost shocks Frederic, and Manfred kills Matilda in the church.

    Chapter 5
  • Soon after

    Alfonso's ghost crumbles the castle and declares Theodore the true Prince of Otranto.

    Chapter 5
  • The next morning

    Manfred and Hippolita give up Otranto, join the convent, and Theodore eventually marries Isabella.

    Chapter 5

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Preface to the First Edition Horace Walpole, when first publishing the novel, wanted to convince readers it was an ancient text. He added a preface t... Read More
Preface to the Second Edition Walpole begins his preface by apologizing for having tricked his readers by "having offered his work to them under the b... Read More
Chapter 1 The main characters of the story are quickly introduced. Manfred, who is the Prince of Otranto, has two children, a "bea... Read More
Chapter 2 Chapter 2 begins with Matilda in her room, feeling ill at ease. Matilda is wondering why Isabella has run off and why he... Read More
Chapter 3 Chapter 3 opens with the sound of trumpets and the plumes of the giant helmet quivering in such a manner that Manfred be... Read More
Chapter 4 Isabella, her wounded father, and Theodore arrive at the castle, met by Hippolita and Matilda. They send for a surgeon t... Read More
Chapter 5 Manfred suspects that Father Jerome knows the true nature of Isabella's relationship with Theodore and that the friar ha... Read More
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