Study Guide

The Mysteries of Udolpho Fear

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St. Aubert thought it was probably kindled by some of the numerous banditti […] and he became watchful and anxious to know whether the road passed by the fire. (1.6.15)

Chill out, St. Aubert. You can really see where Em gets her fearful nature and overactive imagination from.

Her tears were suddenly stopped by terror—a voice spoke near her in the pavilion; she shrieked—it spoke again, and she distinguished the well-known tones of Valancourt. (1.13.38)

How on edge do you think Em is if even Valancourt scares her silly? She must seriously be scared that someone's after her.

[…] Emily, for the first time, saw [Montoni] go with regret; for she considered his presence a protection though she knew not what she should fear. (2.3.12)

The devil you know is better than the devil you don't, right? Even if Montoni seems a little sinister, he is Emily's uncle. That should count for something.

"Quit my presence!" cried Montoni. "This affectation of fear ill becomes the heroine who has just dared to brave my indignation." (3.6.42)

In other words, Em needs to have it one way or another. She doesn't get to be the hero and then turn around and be a scaredy-cat. Doesn't Montoni know that she has a "varied countenance"?

"You will recollect your former promise, Signor," said Emily, trembling, "and may determine for me, whether I ought to rely upon this." (3.8.47)

This is the real scary stuff. Em's not sure whether or not Montoni's men plan to inflict physical harm on her. Do you think she needs to be worried?

Emily was so much astonished by this sudden departure, that she scarcely dared to believe herself awake […] (3.9.39)

This time, it's not so much about Em's fear than her lack of fear during the escape from Udolpho. When it comes down to it, she's a tough cookie with nerves of steel.

[…] For you know, ma'amselle, when one can hear people moving, one does not so much mind, about one's fears. (4.3.19)

The last part of Udolpho is all about finding ways to conquer one's fears. If you told us Em would want to go to a haunted room back in Chapter 1, we may not have believed you.

Screaming with terror, they both fled, and got out of the chamber as fast their trembling limbs would bear them […] (4.4.32)

Okay, okay, Emily doesn't always succeed at beating those fears. This is the scariest moment in the book, without a doubt—so we'll give her a pass.

"I am harassed and perplexed by the confusion, into which my family is thrown by their foolish superstition." (4.8.5)

Count de Villeforte's having a real nightmare of a time trying to get people to buck up and face their fears. Why isn't he afraid of whatever lurks in the Marchioness's room?

[…] Emily's spirits died away, and she would have fallen to the ground, if the girl had not caught her, and supported her to a bench, close to them. (4.10.35)

Might as well have one more fainting fit for good measure. Em has it pretty under control these days, but hearing that Valancourt might have been shot sends her over the edge. Isn't it sweet that her greatest fear is any harm coming to her loverboy?

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