Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Christabel Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1037 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Christabel"

Gothic Elements of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Christabel"

In the early 19th century, the Romantic writers introduced fantastic elements into their writing, which soon become its own important literary style. This style was a natural answer to the unease that was felt from the rather oppressive Age of Reason, and, as a consequence, struck a death toll for the Enlightenment. The economic and societal collages of England at this time inspired writers to turn to the supernatural and fantastic as a means of escape from their dark world. One part of this literary genre is Gothic literature. Though often difficult to pin down as a definition, The Norton Anthology states that the "Gothic came to designate... The terrifying, especially the pleasurably terrifying" (588). To be truly Gothic, piece of literature must contain certain distinguishing elements to be considered Gothic. Some of these elements are a concentration on the darker side of life, a setting that seems dark, decayed or old, and an overall sense of an adult fairytale being told. Many times there will be a theme of female helplessness within these tales as well. These elements are certainly present in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Chritabel."Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Christabel Assignment

Along with William Wordsworth, Coleridge had an active hand in changing the face of poetry forever when they published their Lyrical Ballads in 1798. In this work, as well as his future work, Coleridge explored "the development of the human person, on how selves are made and lost," by introducing fantasy and innovative story lines that developed as the poem developed instead of simply focusing on a static "picture" or event (Taylor 707). This is a reflection of the times in which Coleridge lived. Much of the focus at this time was on the various scientific ideas that were in their infancy. Psychology and sociology were all but unheard of at the time, and so Coleridge's exploration of the inner self is truly innovative, but it was also his interest in things even more mysterious than this that likely generated the ideas for "Christabel." Since The Enlightenment advocated reason and logic above all other modes of thought and philosophy, this interest in the spiritual and illogical seems a natural backlash to the psychological and social pressures The Enlightenment placed on its most creative individuals.

In the first lines "Tis the middle of night by the castle clock, / And the owls have awakened the crowing cock." (1,2) Coleridge sets up an ominous tone that will continue throughout the poem. The story the poem tells is dark and full of supernatural elements. Cold nights, strange, wandering maidens, ghosts and possession all serve to generate rather disturbing piece of literature. Another element that the Gothic genre is known for is exploration of homosexuality. Gothic literature will often touch on taboo topics rather blatantly both for sheer shock value, and occasionally as a vehicle for the author to illustrate some point. In this case it is difficult to say whether Coleridge intended the reader to pick up on some message, or if the homoerotic elements were presented simply to shock and titillate the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Christabel" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Christabel.  (2006, July 3).  Retrieved October 29, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Christabel."  3 July 2006.  Web.  29 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Christabel."  July 3, 2006.  Accessed October 29, 2020.