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Literature / A Sicilian Romance

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A gothic novel written by Ann Radcliffe and first published in 1790, A Sicilian Romance concerns a young woman named Julia who, upon being pressured into an arranged marriage by her tyrannical father, the Marquis of Mezzini, flees to a convent to escape. Meanwhile, odd noises and sudden movements in her family castle draw worries from the servants, who believe the castle to be haunted.

Tropes From A Sicilian Romance

  • Abusive Parents: The Marquis is very severe on all three of his children, even imprisoning one in a dungeon for a long stretch of time, and is completely willing to sacrifice their happiness and freedom for his own selfish ends.
  • Arranged Marriage: The Marquis tries to force his daughter Julia to marry a duke. Julia rebels by fleeing from the castle.
  • Book Worm: Julia.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: The Marchioness of Mazzini grows furious over the Count preferring Julia to herself.
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  • Damsel in Distress: Yes... and no. Julia does get into a lot of trouble over the course of the novel, but she is pretty quick to make plans to escape, even managing to escape imprisonment from the castle with the help of only two servants and breaks free of a bandit trying to rape her.
  • Declaration of Protection: Ferdinand and Hippolitus both swear to protect Julia no matter what.
  • Evil Matriarch: The second marchioness certainly likes making Emilia's and Julia’s lives miserable.
  • Haunted Castle: It at least seems so at first.
  • The Hedonist: The second marchioness lives only for her own selfish pleasure.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Marquis of Mazzini.
  • Ill Girl: Cornelia. Despite Julia’s best efforts to nurse her, Cornelia succumbs to her illness.
  • The Ingenue: Emilia. She gets it from her mother.
  • Iron Lady: Madame de Menon.
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  • It's All About Me: The marchioness sees nothing wrong with any of her behavior and will gladly throw the blame on anyone else, being willing to literally kill out of spite of being caught in her wrong doings.
  • Love at First Sight: Julia and Hippolitus.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: The Marquis of Mazzini. All of his crimes can be chalked up to his love for his second wife.
  • Love Makes You Evil: The marquis again.
  • Missing Mom: The first marchioness is believed dead since her children were very small. It becomes a crucial plot point later in the book.
  • Parental Substitute: Madame de Menon, for both Julia and Emilia.
  • Rich Bitch: The second marchioness.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Julia is the more lively and free spirited of the two sisters, while Emilia is more quiet and gentle.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Cornelia.
  • Wicked Stepmother: The second marchioness is an excellent example.
  • Wife Husbandry: The duke whom Julia is supposed to marry is not only much older than her, but has already gone through several wives.
  • Woman Scorned: After being caught cheating on her husband, the marchioness reacts in a way fitting to this trope.


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