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Antagonist Characters in the Early Gothic Novel: A Matter Of Political Anxiety? = Erken Dönem Gotik Romanlarında Karşıt Karakterler

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Author(s): Christopher Thomas CAIRNEY

Journal: Dogus University Journal
ISSN 1302-6739

Issue: 3;
Start page: 13;
Date: 2001;
Original page

Keywords: Antagonist | Gothic novel | Villain | New Historicist | Cultural Materialism | Ideology | Genre | Fiction | Romance

ABSTRACT
During the eighteenth-century, the antagonist, previously the second most important character in a story, becomes, first in Richardson's Clarissa, and then under Gothic influence, the main character in the novel. This recalls the “heavy” villain of Elizabethan drama. The use to which the character is put by the author is both consciously and unconsciously political or ideological, at least in part. Under political influence, the antagonist can be classified as either “repentant” or “unrepentant,” with very different effects, as a New Historicist or Cultural Materialist analysis can reveal. The Gothic antagonist is set within the Gothic novel, and together with other conventions of the Gothic novel became the basis of later interpretations of the Gothic impulse in novels of various sub-genres, from oriental fiction and science fiction to the modern romance novel.

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