Gothic literature is marked by characteristic place settings and personality types that strive to lead to a sense of horror or despair.
Lovecraft claims ‘An appropriate atmosphere is absolutely essential to the Gothic mode’.
Building settings- A typical gothic story is set in and around a caste, graveyard, cave, convent, monastery, church, cathedral, chapel or dungeon. The building possesses the occupants or holds them in bondage – Marshall Tymn. The idea of a secluded place is an ongoing theme.
Natural settings- Secluded places in general, mountain ranges, wild forests etc.
Architectural paraphernalia such as towers, trapdoors, mysterious corridors, rust, hinges, creaking, tunnels, dim lights, flickering candles, burial vaults, suits of armour, prophecies, ghosts, chains, portraits, fluttering bats, storms, lightning and fast billowing winds all serve towards trapping their helpless victims and creating a gothic atmosphere. They add to the aura of terror and mystery that define a gothic genre.
There is often an intermingling of terror and beauty. ( as seen with Dracula’s wives ) and this is often a common theme when it comes to vampires.