Gothic Fiction and Geraldine

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A Unique Analysis of “Christabel”
In the year 1797 economic troubles filled the land and society of England. An era previously known for romantic/traditional literature, writers such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, began entertaining other forms. Samuel Taylor Coleridge took to the innovative gothic genre with his poem “Christabel”. The poem “Christabel” is a two part poem containing numerous gothic elements, paired with various literary devices to convey a vampire-esque theme. These gothic characteristics include the damsel in distress, the dark setting/nature, and Geraldine’s strange perversions. The poem contains symbolism, proper dialect, and personification which all help to convey the gothic theme and define the poem as a vampire poem. The vampire figure, Geraldine plays a crucial role in plot development as she acts as the protagonist .

The poem begins with Part 1 initially constructed in 1797. In order to convey a dark mystic airy night, the author clearly describes the setting. His word choice and dialect provide a context for the latter inclusion of an immortal, Geraldine. With careful word choice and diction the reader can envision themselves outside of a castle in England.

Is the night chilly and dark?
The night is chilly, but not dark.
The thin gray cloud is spread on high,
It covers but not hides the sky.
The moon is behind, and at the full;
And yet she looks both small and dull.
The night is chill, the cloud is gray:
'T is a month before the month of May,
And the Spring comes slowly up this way.
The lovely lady, Christabel,
Whom her father loves so well,
What makes her in the wood so late,
A furlong from the castle gate?
She had dreams all yesternight
Of her own betrothed knight;
And she in the midnight wood will pray
For the weal of her lover that's far away. (14-30)
After reading this stanza we can deduce various important things about the setting and main character, Christabel. We learn that the poem takes place in April,...
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