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This article examines how the Gothic elements of Galdós's novel La sombra (1871) facilitate the exploration of a latenineteenth-century crisis of masculinity as embodied in the protagonist, Anselmo. It proposes that La sombra depicts the impossibility of the bourgeois male ideal by casting this figure in a spectral form while simultaneously characterizing Anselmo, who fails to meet hegemonic masculine standards, as a monster. In this reading, the novel acknowledges the negative effects of unrealistic gender expectations by portraying the protagonist's progressive monstrosity as a consequence of his growing awareness of the shortcomings in his gender performance. The dual processes of spectralization and demonization at work in the text suggest that, beyond censuring an individual male's bad behavior, Galdós's novel problematizes the social pressures surrounding bourgeois masculinity that can potentially drive men to violence.