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The Difference Between Macabre & Gothic

The Difference between Macabre & Gothic

Macabre and gothic, when it comes to the horror world these are two words you tend to see associated with the genre. Sometimes although not in most cases macabre and gothic could be considered one in the same or used during the same event to describe something, but what exactly are macabre and gothic and how much do they differ? It is important to see the two differences so that one can fully understand and appreciate them as tones and themes of the horror genre.

Macabre; adjective: disturbing and horrifying because of involvement with or depiction of death and injury. The adjective macabre is used to describe things that involve the horror of death or violence. ... This word first appeared in English in the context of the "Dance of Death," recounted in literature as the figure of Death leading people in a dance to the grave, and translated from the Old French Danse Macabre. As you can see macabre is used to describe a horrifying event or happening and it prominently is used to describe death. Macabre is in many ways a fancy word one can use instead or horror, death, morbid, etc. When we hear the word macabre we sometimes often associate it with the famous horror writer Edgar Allan Poe, who is a perfect example of a writer of macabre. Macabre is a brilliantly chilling word and such a big and meaningful word that in some ways it could be considered as a small sub-genre of horror, the very word it represents.

Gothic: adjective:


relating to the Goths or their extinct East Germanic language, which provides the earliest manuscript evidence of any Germanic language (4th–6th centuries AD).


of or in the style of architecture prevalent in western Europe in the 12th–16th centuries, characterized by pointed arches, rib vaults, and flying buttresses, together with large windows and elaborate tracery. Definition of Gothic Fiction. The term Gothic fiction refers to a style of writing that is characterized by elements of fear, horror, death, and gloom, as well as romantic elements, such as nature, individuality, and very high emotion. These emotions can include fear and suspense. Gothic is vastly more different then macabre considering that it is not always associated with the horror genre. As you read above gothic can be used to describe a style, a movement, a word, a group of people or even a feeling, so gothic in many ways is a lot more defined and represents may other things whereas macabre is only a sub part represented of horror. However, you will also see how gothic and macabre share a common trait, they are both associated with fear, horror, death and just an overall sense of dread. I consider gothic in terms of horror as the outlet and exterior of horror, used to lightly describe the dark feelings of dread, sadness and horror itself.

While clearly we can see the differences between the two what is it that makes them work well together and makes them at times seem like they mean the same thing? Well aside from the fact they both represent horror in their own unique ways, the feeling, the characterizations and the overall presence of both words can be felt at the same time or even different times both both mean the same thing; they are horror, they are death, they are feelings you simply don’t want to find yourself in or see. They are just two of many words associated with horror that give you fear that give you suspense, that make you want to turn away and yet want more all at the same time. Macabre and Gothic aren’t friends, they are relatives and they do whatever they can to help out their big relative, horror.

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