One of the most common stereotypes surrounding Goth is the subculture's "fixation" on death. Much of the symbolism and the look seem to connote, at the very least, an interest in the topic. The depth of this interest would vary with each individual, as always. In general, Goths are an exaggeration of the darker side of the human psyche. They represent outwardly the thoughts that linger in the back of everyone's mind. Goths tend to make their feelings about death a little more open than the rest of the world.
Death -- in literature, in life and in religion -- has always been a monumental driving force in many of humanity's efforts. All of humanity is fixated on death in a more subtle way. Observe news, movies, and television for confirmation. Modern society has disassociated itself from the reality of death. Most people do not kill their food. Medical advances have increased life spans. The average person does not experience being around death firsthand very often. Death is an abstract concept to most people. This dissociation of life and death in modern culture hinders a conscious awareness of the total life cycle. It can make people forget to appreciate life.
Many Goths say that Gothic represents acceptance of the inevitability of death and the existence of the darker side of life. That does not mean that Goths possess an obsession with either one. Goth is recognizing the balance of dark and light, life and death, without turning away, denying, or living in fear of the things some people find disturbing. For some Goths, it is an acceptance of the inevitable that makes them appreciate life and live it to the fullest from day to day.