1. Show how Christabel naturalises the supernatural?
In ‘Christabel’, Coleridge opens up a new vista by treating the supernatural as a psychic phenomenon. The very centre of his art lies in evoking the mystery of things. He superbly heightens the mystery of the situation, making the eeriness more pressing in his poem:
“The night is chill; the forest bare;
In it the wind that moaneth bleak?”
Indeed, Coleridge explains the conventional repetoire of supernatural and horror, novels of the late 18th century. From the horror novels, two things prominently stand out---- the gothic eeriness, and the pseudo-supernatural. This very element of eeriness particularly, forms the essence of the poem. An ambience of suspence has been created and maintained from the very beginning. Even the night adores a different unearthly hue in the nocturnal scenes:
“’Tis the middle of the night by the castle clock,
And the owls have awakened the crowing cock;
And hark again! the crowing cock”
In the delineation of the supernatural, Coleridge is altogether different from anybody else. In ‘Christabel’, he is not upto recounting merely a thriving tale. Rather this poem explores something deep-seated in human nature. Beneath the surface of a creeping tale, there lurks a serious scope to ponder on:
“That painly wil hide if men will call:
For the blue sky bends over all!”
In Chapter XIV of “Biographia Literaria”, Coleridge illuminates his object of writing supernatural poems:
“...that my endeavours should be dircted to persons and characters supernatural, or at least, romantic;
... a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspicion of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.”
In fact Coleridge does not go for the skinny details of coarseness in ‘Christabel’. An air of credulity is always flared and it also holds the reader from falling into the gaps of disbelief. The method of...