Samuel Taylor Coleridge Questions and Answers

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Analyze the supernatural elements in the poetry of Coleridge.

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There are many different supernatural elements in the poetry of Coleridge. Some reflect Christian beliefs, some reflect folk traditions, and some are fantastic elements grounded in his use of opium, which produced hallucinations.

One of his poems with many dreamlike and supernatural elements is "Kubla Khan," a poem that takes the actual Mongolian historical figure Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, and uses that as a starting point for imagining a vast and supernaturally beautiful and luxurious "pleasure dome." Many of the elements of the poem, such as the phrases "demon lover", "holy dread," "sacred river," and, most importantly, "a miracle of rare device," create a supernatural atmosphere. The poem draws connections among artistic creation, the transcendent, and the supernatural as all distinct from and superior to mundane reality.

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" also has many supernatural elements, most importantly the albatross, which figures as an omen and a bird of good luck. Eventually, the albatross also figures in the curse brought down by the "hellish" deed of killing the bird. Supernatural imagery abounds, including spirits, witch oil, and, most importantly, the nightmare ship. The figure of Geraldine in "Christabel" is also one of supernatural evil.

These supernatural elements serve to distinguish the poetic world from the real one and a poetic way of thinking and imagining from uninspired literalism. They also seek to infuse the poems with an atmosphere of mystery and the sense of a dream world.

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Elements of the supernatural are part of Coleridge's poetry, and can easily be seen by any reader of his classic words such as "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" or "Kubla Khan." His poems are full of tangible examples of the supernatural, whether it be in the form of the specteral figures of "DEATH" and "LIFE-IN-DEATH" in the former or the "damsel with a dulcimer" that the speaker sees in the latter. Note the following description of these two figures from "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" as they gamble for the lives of the men on the boat:

The naked hulk alongside came,

And the twain were casting dice;

"The game is done! I've won! I've won!"

Quoth she, and whistles thrice.

As a result, the other crewmen die and slump to the floor as the mariner hears their souls whizzing past him as if they were a crossbow bolt. Coleridge's poetry certainly presents him as focusing more on the supernatural aspects of Romanticism, and his purpose in writing Lyrical Ballads, the groundbreaking work of poetry that he wrote with Wordsworth, was to make the supernatural appear natural, whereas Wordsworth aimed to do the opposite. Coleridge's success can be seen in the presentation of the supernatural in the poems contained in this volume, where terrifying figures and mystical events happen as if they were part of everyday life.

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Description of Supernatural Elements in Coleridge’s Poem S.T.Coleridge is the greatest English poet of supernatural. Imagination is controlled by thought and study. He has employed refined, suggestive and psychological methods of mystery and horror in the poem. Supernatural is often used interchangeable with preternatural or paranormal.It refers to conscious magical religious or unknown forces that cannot ordinarily perceived except through their effect. Unlike natural forces, these putative supernatural forces can’t be shown to exist by the scientific method. Supernatural claims assert phenomena beyond the relam of current scientific understanding which are often in direct conflict with current scientific theory. Coleridge was consider to be a note worth poet of 18th century.Coleridge‘s poetic career is a very short one. Yet he has given very remarkable poems. In 1796 he published his first volume of poems on various subjects Coleridge’s best works are mainly of two 1- Supernatural poems 2- Samuel Taylor Coleridge conversational poems (1) Supernatural poems:-Like ‘Kubla khan’, ‘The Rime of Ancient mariner’ and ‘christable’. These timeless poems are excellent example of romantic imagination. (2)Conversational poems:-Like “A frost at midnight and Dejection –“an ode” reveals reflective side of his disposition Coleridge as a poet of Supernatural Coleridge’s most outstanding contribution to romantic to romantic poetry is his treatment of the supernatural. When Coleridge and words worth wrote the “Lyrical Ballads”, Coleridge took the supernatural as his field and undertook to naturalize it. At hand is no any finer dreamer in English verse than Coleridge. His high Supernatural imagination is controlled by thought and study. Coleridge is co-founder of Romantic Movement with words worth .so, as words worth is a nature poet, Coleridge is known for his supernaturalism Let’s discuss Coleridge as a poet of supernatural by his poems like “Kubla Khan” and “The Rim of Ancient marine” Supernatural elements in “Kubla khan” Kubla Khan is the product of sheer fancy. It is a dream poem, a poem of pure magic. It is one of Coleridge’s three master pieces of supernatural poetry. The atmosphere of supernatural mystery is created in Kubla Khan mint by the description of the pleasure dome and the surrounding in which it stood Kubla Khan is a product of pure fury, a work of sheer imagination. And is therefore a wholly Romantic composition. A reader with a rational or a neo-classical spirit would perhaps fail to find any meaning. Or logic or thought in this poem but to a romantic reader, the poem is a source of intense pleasure and wonder. Kubla Khan is delightful blend of imagination, emotion mystery sensuousness, romantic description, sweet melody and exquisite diction. Kubla Khan is a poem of pure magic. It is one of Coleridge‘s three master pieces of supernatural poetry, and the other two are “Christabel” and “The Rim of Ancient mariner”. Through the use of vivid imagery Coleridge reproduces a paradise like vision of the landscape and kingdom created by Kubla Khan. The atmosphere of supernatural mystery is created in Kubla Khan mainly by a description of the pleasure dome and the surrounding in which it stood. “For instance, the river Alpha flowing through caverns measureless to man down to a sunless sea.” The immeasurable abysses and the sunless sea stir in our mind the feeling of mystery and even fear. Then comes the deep romantic gorge which lay across a wood of cedar trees. The manner in which the water intermittently gushed forth from the spring, throwing up huge place of rock were breathing in fast, thick plants is staggering to the readers imagination. The atmosphere of mystery and fear is emphasized when another reference is made to the sunless sea or the lifeless ocean in to which the water of alpha falls with a loud roar. The whole of this description is awe-inspiring if not horrifying. It should be noted that suggestiveness is a very important ingredient of Coleridge’s supernaturalism. Nor should we forget the closing lines which contain a picture of natural and the supernatural. A poet’s inspiration is of the well-known and natural facts of human life but there is something supernatural about the way in which this poetic inspiration and the creative power of a poet are depicted! “And all should cry, Beware! Beware! His fleshing eyes, his floating hair! weave a circle round him thrice and Close eyes with holy dread for him on Honey – drew hath fed and drunk the Milk of paradise”. Every line here emphasizes the atmosphere of mystery and fear which is the key note of the poem. And yet the whole desiccation is psychologically accurate because when the poet is in the state of frenzy is really a magician: touches of realism indeed, have been added, even to the description of the chasm and mighty fountain. The two similes-rebounding hails and the chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s fail-are drawn from actual life and are the most realistic. Even in the mid of his far of, divorced from life description, Coleridge does not forget that his real purpose was to make the supernatural and to bring about that “willing suspension of disbelief which constitutes poetic faith.” Kubla Khan is triumph of supernaturalism. It transforms the world of everyday life in to world of enchantment. Indeed, this poem ranks as a master piece of supernaturalism. In the poem the images which had been deposited the unconscious mind of Coleridge from his reading about subteraneam rivers, pleasures; places and others marvelous things, emerged to his conscious mind and were exposed immediately and spontaneously in words. The caverns measureless to man, the romantic chasm the intermittent burst of water from the fountain, the sunless sea, they all create a world of wonder and enchantment. The atmosphere of strangeness and mystery has effetely and skillful been created in the poem. Indeed, this poem ranks as a master piece of supernaturalism and is one of the three poems which brought the name of Coleridge to the forefront of the greatest English poets. Kubla Khan is his master piece of poem of supernaturalism the description of a Dom “pleasure Dom” and how he take a support to this Dom to create his own Dom. the description of his Dom is very beautiful and it create its magical effect on reader. The greatness of S.T. Coleridge’s the Ancient mariner lies chiefly in the technique by which the supernatural has been made believed and convincible. There are a number of impossible, incredible, and fantastic situation in the poem. The fascinating power in mariner’s gaze. The sudden appearance of the mysterious skeleton ship the specter –woman and her mate, the coming back to life to the dead crew, the sudden sinking of the ship, the polar spirits talking to each other-all these and others supernatural incidents are scattered in the poem. With these supernatural elements the poet has artistically inter woven convincing pictures of nature like the sun shining brightly at the outset, the mist and snow surrounding the ship, the freezing cold of the artic region, slimy creatures creeping upon the sea, the moon going up the sky with a star or two beside it, the water snakes moving in the water in a variety of colors. The natural and supernatural the real and fantastic, the possible ad the impossible have been so skillfully and artistically mingled that the whole strikes us as quite convincing and credible. The setting of the poem is natural, known to all. With a view to giving his stories an air of Plausibility, Coleridge gives accurate. Description of his nature. In the am every phase of landscape, seascape and cloudscape is touched upon. The bright sun, the “Kirk” or church the hill the light house, the cheerful on lookers at the harbor the wedding guest the marriage ceremony, the sun storm blast in the sea the mist and snow of the arctic region and many other natural elements are there in the setting of the story. All these phenomena have been made very convincing. In this natural setting are set the supernatural incidents. A terrible storm hit and forced the ship south wards. The “storm blast” was “tyrannous and strong” and struck the ship with over taking wings”. Then the sailors reached a clam patch of sea that was “wondrous cold” full of snow and “glistering green iceberg” as tall as the ship’s mast. The Ancient mariner is a tale of a curse which the narrator, the mariner himself and his companions by killing an Albatross without reason. Coleridge’s power of handling the supernatural is like the pure music of his verse. The moral of the poem is one of all embracing love. This poem is full of moral teachings for human beings. Humphrey house expresses his agreements with three great critics, DR.Tillyard, DR.Bowra and Robert Penn warren that the poem has a very serious moral and spiritual on human life. The moral of the poem’s story is that one should love all God’s creatures. Coleridge is regarded as the greatest poet of the supernatural in English literature and the ancient mariner is regarded as a master piece of supernatural poetry. His supernatural is controlled by thought and study. cazamian says, “the very center of Coleridge art lies in his faculty of evoking the mystery of things, and making it actual, widespread, and obsessing, even better than words worth, he knows how to handle that species of the supernatural whose essence is entirely psychological…….. The supernatural element in the ancient mariner is a hallucination, the outcome of the remorse by the most sober of method.” His skill in dealing with the supernatural in this poem is two-fold: first, he has fully achieved his aim of making the supernatural appear to be natural; and, second, he has employed suggestive, psychological, and refined methods of producing the feelings of mystery and horror in the poem, not crude and sensational like that of the writers before him, i.e. Horace, Walpole Mrs. Radcliffe, and Monk Lewis. The greatness of the Ancient mariner lies chiefly in the technique by which the supernatural has been made believable and convincing. There are, no doubt a number of impossible, incredible, and fantastic situation in the poem, such as: the mesmeric power in the mariner’s gaze. The sudden appearance of the mysterious skeleton ship ,the specter woman and her mate, the coming back to life of the dead crew, the seraph-band making signals to the land, the sudden sinking of the ship, and the polar spirit commenting on or influencing the course of events. But the supernatural phenomena that the whole looks real. The sun shining brightly at the outset the mist and snow the freezing cold of the Polar Regions, the floating ice bergs floating in the water, the torrid fierceness of stagnant water. The slimy things crawling on the sea, the moon going up the scythe roaring wind, the rainfall-such are the natural phenomena in the poem. The realistic effect is enhanced by a description of the state of mind of the ancient mariner: that is how he tried to pray but he could not, how lonely he felt on a wide sea how he wanted to die but in vain, how he suffered mental and spirituals anguish. This psychological study of the mariner adds to the realistic effect because we are made to feel that any man would suffer in the same way under similar circumstances. Again, the details of the ship’s voyage have such a diary-like air that we accept them as a faithful recording of facts, there is too, the logic of cause and effect in the poem. The punishment and torture have a convincing cause behind them. The realistic effect achieved by Coleridge. The poem is one his great achievement which makes the poem not only convincing and exciting but also in some sense a criticism of life. There are a large number of situations and episodes in the ancient mariner, which fill us either with a sense of mystery or a feeling of horror or with both. The first situation that strikes terror in the heart of the mariner (and the reader also) is the appearance of the skeleton-ship. When this skeleton-ship is sighted in the distance, the sailors feel happy to think that they will now get water to quench their burning thirst. But in a few moments they discover the reality of this ship. The description of the ship with its “ribs” and its “gossamer-like sails” fill us with terror. It is a strange mystery that the ship should sail on the sea without wind and without a tide, while the mariner’s ship stands still “like a painted shop upon a painted ocean”. Obviously it is a supernatural force, which drives the ship and the crew also consists of supernatural characters. The feeling of terror is heightened when a reference is made to the crew of this ship. The crew consists of death and life-in-death. But Coleridge creates the sense of horror in this poem not by describing a direct and crude description but by employing suggestive and psychological methods. For instance, he does not describe the physical features of the specter woman and her death mate or other external phenomena at length, but he simply portrays the effect of those external things on the mariner’s mind. The appearance of life-in-death is described in the following three lines: her lips were red, her looks were free, her looks were yellow as gold: her skin was as white as leprosy (lines-190-92)these three lines are followed by these two: the night-mare life-in-death was she, who thick man’s blood with cold Coleridge, after giving us only three lines of description, conveys the horror by saying that the sight of her would have the effect of freezing a man’s blood. In other words, he leaves it to us to imagine for our-selves the horrible appearance of life-in-death that personifies the unspeakable torture of a man who can’t die. Coleridge merely offers a few suggestions to be developed by the reader himself. The effect of the skeleton-ship with death and life-in-death on board again conveyed to us by the following two lines “Fear in my heart, as at a cup, My life-blood seemed to sip!" That is, instead of giving us a detailed description of the whole horrible sight, Coleridge refers to the effect of that horrible sight upon the mind of the mariner and says that fear sipped his life-blood. Another situation that produces horror in the poem is the death of the two hundred sailors who dropped down one by one, and each of them looked at the ancient mariner. Conclusion:- Here we saw Coleridge’s power of language, description of the different elements like nature, supernatural, horror and the high priest of romanticism.