The Deathly Facts of Life: A Theme of Inevitable and Unexpected Death in Two Gothic Works

Essay by rickitHigh School, 11th grade October 2014

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AP English Lang/Com

27 November 2013

The Deathly Facts of Life: A Theme of Inevitable and Unexpected Death in Two Gothic Works

Death is an aspect of life that applies to all, and the end of life signifies an entrance into the unknown. Horror movies and Gothic literature often include death since it invokes fear and grief. In both Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death", dark characters contribute to developing the theme that death is inevitable but unexpected by its victims.

Death comes inevitably for all human beings, yet in these Gothic works, it comes especially unexpectedly for the characters who face it. This theme is evident in Psycho when Marion Crane, obviously taken by surprise, screams as her attacker stabs her to death. Her surprise and horror is juxtaposed with the preceding scene when Marion relaxes with a refreshing shower.

The following event of her murder is traumatizing and shocking to her. Although the motel is an isolated place, Marion expects the motel to be safe. She is more worried about how to hide the cash she has stolen. As a result, her life is suddenly taken by Norman Bates. In "The Masque of the Red Death", the mass death of the nobles is certainly ironic and unforeseen because they locked themselves in the large castle to for the very purpose of escaping death. The castle is described as extremely secure with its "strong and lofty wall" and "gates of iron" (Poe). As these social elites engage in the night's merriments - music, dancing, wine - they find a corpse-like figure with clothing dabbled in blood. The juxtaposition reflects the surprise and horror felt as the guests realize that the Red Death is present. Outraged with the presence...