Study Guide

The Mysteries of Udolpho Fear

By Ann Radcliffe

Fear

There are plenty of reasons to be a scaredy-cat at Udolpho, but the scariest things aren't always apparent. That's why fear seems to be a part of Emily's everyday life at Montoni's castle—she's not sure what's lurking behind the corner so she's on constant alert.

Fear is a coping mechanism for The Mysteries of Udolpho's heroine, who knows that half the battle is knowing the enemy. If the enemy happens to be the thing behind the black veil, so be it. Em would rather faint than face up to her worst fears, but we actually get where she's coming from. Once you get past the fear, you get a whole bunch of messy emotions, like sorrow and rage.

Questions About Fear

  1. Can we pinpoint Em's greatest fears? What is she not afraid of?
  2. How do Annette's fears differ from Em's? Do class differences affect fears?
  3. What are the most realistic fears at Udolpho? How about the most ridiculous ones?
  4. Do Em's fears change or evolve over the course of the book?

Chew on This

When any character expresses fear, what he/she is really feeling is a blend of nostalgia and sorrow.

Whenever Emily fears something, she seeks to replace that fear with knowledge.

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