The first official [[GothicHorror Gothic novel]], ''The Castle of Otranto'' was written by Horace Walpole and published in 1764. It concerns the story of the prince Manfred and his desire to avoid a curse placed upon his ancestors, which places him at risk of losing his castle and title.
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!! ''The Castle of Otranto'' provides examples of:

* AndNowYouMustMarryMe: Manfred tries to do this to Isabella in order to try to avert the destruction of his line, setting up the conflict.
* ArrangedMarriage: Isabella was engaged to marry Manfredís son at the start of the novel.
* TheAtoner: Manfred becomes this at the end.
* CrazyJealousGuy: Manfred, starting an enduring Gothic villain tradition.
* {{Curse}}: When a giant helmet falls on and kills Manfred's son, Manfred fears it is the result of a prophecy laid down by his ancestors that 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 it."
* DistressedDamsel: Isabella
* DistressedDude: Theodore is imprisoned and rescued by Matilda.
* DomesticAbuse: Not just due to ValuesDissonance, either, because Isabella is initially terrified of Manfred because of how she's seen him treat his wife and daughter.
* ExtremeDoormat: Hippolita and Matilda
* FirstGirlWins
* HauntedCastle: TropeCodifier, taking its inspiration from ''{{Hamlet}}''.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Manfred
* {{Homage}}: To Walpole's idol Creator/WilliamShakespeare, which the author was always up-front about.
* ItsProbablyNothing: Bianca and Matilda agree the strange noises must just be "the wind."
* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy: Matilda is willing to give up Theodore to Isabella.
* LoveAtFirstSight: 3 cases, 1 with pre-emptive LampshadeHanging.
* LoveTriangle: Isabella loves Theodore, who loves Matilda, who loves him back.
* LukeIAmYourFather: Father Jerome is Theodore's father.
* NamesTheSame: Made "Manfred," "Matilda," "Theodore," and "Isabella" staple Gothic names.
* NiceGuy: Theodore
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Nice job mortally wounding the knight who came looking for Isabella, Theodore...
* OffingTheOffspring: Manfred, in full-on IfICantHaveYou mode, busts in on what he thinks is a tryst between Isabella and Theodore, but instead of Isabella, it is Matilda who Theodore is meeting with, and she is tragically stabbed to death.
* OnlySaneMan: Theodore and Isabella.
* PluckyGirl: Isabella
* ProperLady: Hippolita and Matilda
* RescueRomance: Isabella falls in love with Theodore after he helps her escape Otranto, while Theodore falls in love with Matilda when she rescues him from imprisonment.
* {{Servile Snarker}}s: Bianca, Diego, and Jacques
* SpiritedYoungLady: Isabella
* SupernaturalAid: The ghosts of the castle for Isabella.
* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth: Matilda
* TropeCodifier for Gothic tropes.
* VillainProtagonist: Manfred
* WriteWhoYouKnow: Scholars love finding similarities between Otranto and Walpole's home estate Strawberry Hill.

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