Lesson Notes By Weeks and Term - Senior Secondary School 2







  • She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith.
  • Exam Reflection Literature- in-English by Sunday OlatejuFaniyi.
  • Exam Reflection Literature-in-English (Prose and Drama) by Sunday OlatejuFaniyi.  
  • The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole. 





The narrative is about a vain struggle by Prince Manfred to prevent the accomplishment of an ancient prophecy which states that the castle and lordship of Otranto “should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit”(pp. 1-2). To prevent the realization of the prophecy, Manfred arranges to marry his only and sickly son, Conrad, to Isabella in order to have an heir in the event of the death by the sickly boy of fifteen. On the wedding day, the poor boy is killed in a mysterious circumstance. A mysterious giant helmet crushes him to death before the nuptial ceremony. Manfred is as incredulous as he is devastated. Shortly afterwards, a young peasant among the crowd of the spectators and sympathizers at the scene, later revealed as Theodore, observes that the helmet resembles the one on the statue of Alfonso the Good at St. Nicholas church nearby. This prompts some of the spectator to rush to the chapel and return not only to confirm the young man’s observation but also to add that the Alfonso’s statue is missing. Manfred becomes frantic and declares that the young peasant is a magician and sorcerer. He orders him imprisoned on charges of murder.

After recovering a bit from the shock of the tragedy, Manfred continues in his effort to prevent the accomplishment of the prophecy hanging over his household by scheming to marry Isabella, the proposed bride of Conrad. Isabella, outraged at the proposal, flees from the castle through an underground passage to St. Nicholas chapel. She is assisted by the jailed Theodore.

Father Jerome of St. Nicholas intimates Manfred and his wife, Lady Hippolita, of Isabella’s refuge in the church. Smartly sending his wife away, Manfred request the priest to assist him divorce his wife and marry Isabella. The priest not only refuses, he warns the Prince against the idea. However, in an attempt to divert Manfred’s attention, he suggests that Isabella might be in love with one who assisted her to escape. Enraged by this possibility, he orders the young man to

be brought out for execution. As the young man submits to the order and gets ready for the fatal blow, the collar of his wear falls down to reveal a birthmark which tells Father Jerome that the peasant is his son. The life of the young man is used to negotiate for the cooperation of Jerome in facilitating the Prince desires.

Fredric, the Marquis of Vicenza, arrives to challenge Manfred’s lordship of the castle and principality of Otranto. The latter proposes an alternative to fighting asa way to resolve the matter. Both agree to marry each other’sdaughter so that the blood of the rightful owner and that of the usurper of the throne would have been fused in the offspring that will result from the marriage, specifically the marriage ofManfred to Isabella.

Having been assisted by Matilda to escape, Theodore makes for the convent at St Nicholas to tell his father of his escape but the priest is not around. Theodore heads for the forest where Frederic arrives later in search of Isabella. While resisting the Marquis’s attempt to gain access to the lady, he stabs him but the Marquis eventually survives.

While the negotiations of the marriage are still ongoing, a ghost appears to Frederic,warns him against any consort with Manfred. Consequently, he becomes cold and uncooperative towards Manfred. Soon after, Manfred receives information from one of his servants that a lady from the castle has been sighted “in private conference at the tomb of Alfonso in St Nicholas church” (p. 141). Thinking that the lady is Isabella trying to elope with Theodore, Manfred rushes there and kills his own daughter, Matilda, in error. It is eventually revealed that Theodore, not Fredric, is the true heir of Alfonso and the rightful claimant to the lordship of Otranto.


Dracula.Siouxsie and the Banshees. That hound of the Baskervilles scaring people out on the moors. Tim Burton’s career.Joy Division and New Order.The entire industry of black cosmetics. All these and more might not exist today had Horace Walpole not published The Castle of Otrantoin 1764. Most literary experts agree that The Castle of Otranto created the genre of gothic fiction and, by extension, everything that has ever expanded outward from it.

The stimulus behind Walpole’s invention of a brand new literary genre was, as is usually the case in these things, a deep and enduring boredom with conventions popular at the time. Those conventions belong to the genre that today is referred to as Romance. Walpole’s major beef with the Romance fiction of his time was it all had come to seem ridiculously contrived and desperately uninspired. What he wanted to read himself were stories that imitated reality in a more authentic way that eschewed the insipid blandness of mere reportage. Keep in mind that much of the most popular fiction at the time Walpole starting composing The Castle of Otranto were those excruciatingly detailed books about manners that painted a portrait of reality that was

only accurate on the surface and did not even bother trying to penetrate into the psychological imperative behind the commitment to those manners.


To put it in simple terms, what Walpole set out to do with The Castle of Otranto was to transport the concept of fiction as an imitation of reality from its contemporary stagnation of merely recording how people behaved into a more imaginative exploration of reality by analyzing how people behaved. The most authentic means of getting at the raw root of behavior was to push characters out of the mundane reality of everyday life and into situations of such extraordinary conditions that the true nature of one’s character could no longer be concealed.


The result was The Castle of Otranto. Within this brand new type of novel readers would confront a gloomy and mysterious castle where the decay of age symbolized the degeneration of the humans inhabiting it. Other elements to be found in Walpole’s prototype of gothic fiction include an portentous and menacing forecast of the fates of the characters, labyrinthine corridors beneath the castle, people locked behind closed doors in difficult-to-reach rooms, a supernatural patina covering the entire narrative, apparitions, a sense of doom, pervasive dread and an overwhelming amount of scenes taking place at night or in the darkness.

In other words, all the ingredients that readers have come to expect from gothic novels as diverse Jane Eyre, The Fall of the House of Usher, Rebecca and The Haunting of Hill House and beyond.



  1. Examine the features of the plot.
  2. Discuss the plot of the plot.



INSTRUCTION: Answer all questions

  1. A praise poem is (a) a dirge (b) an epic (c) an ode (d) a ballad
  2. Lines of regular recurrence in a poem constitutes (a) a refrain (b) an alliteration (c) an assonance (d) a theme
  3. A regular group of lines in poetry constitutes (a) Stanza (b) Verse (c) Rhythm (d) Metre
  4. An individual who acts , appears or is referred to as playing a part in a literary work is a (A) villain (b) character (c) clown (d)narrator
  5. A bitter remark intended to wound the feeling is (a) satire (b) an allusion (c) a sarcasm (d) an ambiguity



Describe the main character in the work.



Read up the themesCastle of Otranto in Exam Focus.


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