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Christabel Essay

  • Submitted by: anonymous
  • on April 16, 2015
  • Category: English
  • Length: 737 words

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Below is an essay on "Christabel" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Traditionally in a gothic setting, there are elements of darkness and desolate areas like haunted castles, which are a fairly good stereotype to associate with gothic literature. The settings are often accompanied by strange sounds that can make a reader feel uncomfortable or worried. Within Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s "Christabel," there are scenes that take place in these dark places while the readers are forced to imagine eerie sounds of shrieking owls and the slow tick-tock of clocks.
As I have mentioned, the gothic nature of "Christabel" is prevalent throughout the poem. Coleridge begins the poem with a classic gothic setting, "Tis the middle of night by the castle clock, And the owls have awakened the crowing cock"(Longman Anthology p.652: 1-2). It seems as if Coleridge is only preparing the reader for potential horror later in the poem. He keeps the ominous tone going as he describes the full moon that is still visible on a chilly night in which the sky is full of dark clouds. The negative way in which Coleridge describes the setting makes the reader feel tense, but that is exactly what he is going for. This feeling only rises as he describes how Christabel reacts to a noise she hears off in the woods. He writes, "And in silence prayeth she. The lady leaps up suddenly"(Longman Anthology 653: 38-39). Christabel is engaged in doing something that to her is meant to be stress-free and know, but is interrupted by something frightening and unknown. It does come as a surprise that the terror she felt came from a woman dressed in a white robe because generally white is used to suggest a sense of innocence or purity. Coleridge makes a clear contrast between the darkness of the woods and the lightness, or appeared innocence, of the woman (Geraldine) and seems to suggest to the reader that she must be pure.
However, the reader comes to learn Geraldine is not the innocent, pure figure she originally seemed, but finds out she behaves like a damsel in distress as a cover...

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