Frederick S. Frank wrote that in many forms of high Gothic fiction, inanimate matter possesses a life and mentality of its own. Walls and corridors exhibit auditory powers, windows and turrets have optical abilities, objects of art, furniture, and weaponry function with a vile intelligence of their own. The entire haunted castle (or equivalent) is hyper-organic in all its aspects, and therefore serves almost as a character in the text.
The haunted, crumbling castle in the Gothic can also be read as subversive of the ideology of domesticity in the home. Kate Ferguson Ellis posits that while the Gothic home is portrayed as a fortress, it is simultaneously torn in ways that expose its inherent contradictions. This is the paradox of the Gothic castle: it is a home, and therefore ideologically a place of security and concord, but it is also a locus of danger and imprisonment.
Courtesy of Wendy Fall, Marquette University
See also: dungeon
Ellis, Kate Ferguson. The Contested Castle : Gothic Novels and the Subversion of Domestic Ideology. Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 1989. Print.
Frank, Frederick S. The First Gothics : A Critical Guide to the English Gothic Novel. New York : Garland Pub., 1987. Print.
Railo, Eino. The Haunted Castle; a Study of the Elements of English Romanticism. New York, Humanities Press, 1964. Print.