The Problem of 'Evil' in Elizabeth Gaskell's Gothic Tales
Author: Styler, Rebecca
Source: Gothic Studies, 1 May 2010, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 33-50(18)
Abstract:Elizabeth Gaskell used Gothic as a symbolic language to explore the dark side of Unitarian thought. She explores, in rationalist terms, evil's origins, effects, and remedy, using Gothic tropes as metaphors for humanly created misery. Gaskell locates the roots of 'evil' in an unenlightened social order – in 'The Crooked Branch' erroneous parenting, and in 'The Poor Clare' wider social structures, both distorted by the ideology of privilege. 'The Poor Clare' also engages with the tension between moral determinism and personal responsibility, and defends a Unitarian salvation. This tale also demonstrates Gaskell's views on aspects of Roman Catholicism.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 2010