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Cathy and Heathcliff, two of the most famous star-crossed lovers next to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, desire one another so powerfully that nothing, not even death, seems able to keep them apart.When Heathcliff runs away because Cathy decides to marry the rich Edgar Linton rather than stay with Heathcliff and live in poverty, she realizes that she's driven him away and experiences a fit of madness.Credited as the first Gothic novel and considered one of the founding texts of the genre is Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, published in 1764.

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The Gothic can also refer to stories involving strange and troubling events that, while they have logical, natural explanations, seem to originate from unexpected forces.

Charlotte Bronte employs this element of the Gothic in Jane Eyre, published in 1847.

While living in Thornfield Hall as a governess, Jane frequently hears strange noises and laughter coming from the third story of the mansion that no one will explain, and odd things keep happening in the dead of night, such as her master Mr.

Rochester's bed catching fire and an attack on a guest.

Ghosts, death and decay, madness, curses, and so-called 'things that go bump in the night' provided ways to explore fear of the unknown and what control we have as humans over the unknown.

Mary Shelley's classic tale Frankenstein, first published in 1818, offers a powerful example of this desire to explore the unknown even as we fear it.

The romance in the Gothic novel is usually set against the background of the mysterious circumstances of the plot; Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) is a classic tale of the damsel in distress trapped in a spooky castle and forced to marry an evil villain until the handsome lover comes to her rescue.

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