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The Castle Of Otranto Summary and Characters

The Castle of Otranto is a gothic story which was single handedly invented by Horace Walpole in the 18th Century. Some of the elements of a gothic fiction are: supernatural or otherwise inexplicable events, women in distress threatened by a powerful tyrannical male, the metonymy of horror and mysterious event, fear, terror or sorrow.

The novel explores of a tale of romantic love which is unconsummated. When the story begins, there is to be a wedding between the sickly young prince, conrad and isabella whose father, frederick has been away at the crusades. Manfred persudes isabella to marry conrad who is just 15 yerars, on the morning of the wedding servants found the crushed body of conrad under a plumed helmet large enough to fit a giant. The large helmet rushed young conrad to death.

Meanwhile, there is an ancient profecy regarding Manfred’s family which states that the castle and lordship of Otranto ”should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown to large to inhabit it ” .

The prophecy is cryptic (confusing), and no one really understands it. Everyone in the kingdomis waiting patiently to see what will unfold for Manfred. He losses his mind since he now has no son to take over as king. He therefore decides to force isabella who sees him as a future father in law to marry him, isabella is confused about Manfreds intentiond towards her and she escapes with the help of a peasant , theodore who has been in prison in Manfred castle for affronting him earlier in a story. Manfred also accuses Theodore of the murder of conrad because he noticed that the helmet looks like that of the figure in black marble of Alfonso the good. he also noticed the helmet statue helmet is missing. Manfred claims that the helmet has been stolen from Alfonso tomb and used to dash out the the brains of the young prince.

Manfred on the other hand is still hell bent on marrying isabella but he must divorce Hippolita who is a devout woman who will do as the priest ask her. So, manfred wants the priest to convice her to accept the divorce. Jerome is also aware of Manfred intentions towards isabella. As manfred and jerome met Manfred decides to execute Theodore, who has proven to be articulate, wiseand resourceful. As soon as Theodore is about to be executed, jerome also admits he was the former count of falconare who lost his estates, wife and son due to an attack. Manfred spares the life of Theodore who solemnly discovers to be madly in love with Matilda.

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There is also supernatural threat in the final part of the story when Manfred becomes apprehensive of the aftermath. Maltilda is also fasinated by the potrait of the young alfonso the good that is the hung in her castle. It is clear that she longs for someone like Alfonso in her life. She begins to get to know Theodore when he is imprisoned and realize that he is a man of quality. When all of the men left the castle to find isabella Maltilda frees Theodore and insists that he leaves the castle to save his life. She has also noticed that Theodore resembles the picture of the former prince, Alfonso and she falls in loves with him.

Manfred who is still chasing isabella in order to marry her runs into a huge entourage of Knights and courtiers who are currently in search for isabella. one of the knights, unknown to Manfred is frederick isabella father. Theodore also goes in search of isabella and finds her hiding in a cave and when their safety becmes threatened. He wounds Vibcenza severly, isabella returns to the castle with his father. Manfred has the idea of a double wedding which sees him marrying his daughter Matilda. The two fathers consent to chuch armed with a knife and stabs the woman he sees conversing with Theodore, only to discover that it is his own daughter, Matilda.

As the family returns to the castle, Manfred repents and Theodore true lineage was revealed, making him the true prince of Otranto. consequently, Maltilda dies and pleads that Theodore and isabella should be united. Meanwhile manfred leaves the castle in disgrace and theodore and isabella should be united. Mean while, malfreds leaves the castle in disgraces and theodore takes over the title.

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The prophecy that led to the death of young conrads comes to fruition when Theodore later becomes the heir apparent of the castle of Otranto. ”Behold in theodore the true heir of Alfonso …. Behold the Vanity of human graetness! conrad is gone! Maltilda is no more ! in theodore we view the true prince of Otranto…. our doom is pronounced, shall we not, can we not, can we but dedicate the few deplorable hours. We have to live…. Heaven ejects us.


The Castle Of Otranto Summary and Characters
  1. MANFRED: He is the Lord of the castle of Otranto which was alleged to have been forcefully unsurped by him. He is the father of Conrad and Matilda, and the husband of Hipolita.
  2. HIPOLITA: she is the devout and courageous wife of Manfred and the mother of conrad and Matilda. She is a pure hearted woman with a charitable apostrophe.
  3. MATILDA: matilda is the lovely daughter of hipolita and the oppressive Manfred, who does not care and show fatherly love towards her because of her sex.
  4. ISABELLA: She is the heroine of the novel, the daughter of frederick and conrads fiancee, she is compelled by mantred to marry sickly conrad against her wish.
  5. THEODORE FALCONARA: He is the son of jerome who grew up as a peasant. at the begginging of the novel he appears as a minor character.
  6. JEROME: He is the friar at the Monastery near the castle of Otranto. His office is to promote peace, to heal divisions, to preach repentance and also to teach mankind to curb their headstrong passions.
  7. FREDERICK: He is the marquis of vinceza, who is the long lost father of isabella and he appears late in the novel. He claims he is the right person for the trown.
  8. CONRAD: He is the fifteen year old son of Manfred and Hippolita and the younger brother of matilda. According to manfred
  9. BIANCA: She is the dutiful servant of Matilda, who serves as a comic relief of the otherwise highly melodramatic novel. it was through her they discover the strange movement of ghost in the castle.
  10. DIEGO AND JAQUEZ: Just like Bianca , they are other servants within the castle of Otranto who are under Manfreds command.


  1. Greed and usurpation of power
  2. The theme of marriage and incestuos act
  3. The theme of mistaken identity

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