Supernatural In Rime Of The Ancient Mariner And Christabel

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The term supernatural is often to describe something that is outside the realm of the known. Something that exists beyond the “natural” state of things. However, the supernatural must still be grounded in the natural world to a degree. It can not simply defy logic and law. It must exist on the outskirts of understanding. The supernatural allows one to come to terms with the unknown and plays a fundamental role in storytelling.Thus, there is a truth that exists in the supernatural; even if in reality the supernatural is technically a lie in itself.This also makes it a great tool for increasing the enjoyment or pleasure from a story. In this paper I will discuss this type of usage of the supernatural in Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Christabel,…show more content…
Coleridge states in his Biographia Literaria that the supernatural had to have “...a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment.” While the supernatural is often a “beautiful” lie it must still have a air of truth to it that allows the reader to accept its existence. The supernatural can not be so blatantly impractical that the reader disregards it as nonsense. The supernatural elements in Rime of the Ancient Mariner reflect this notion of being fantastical but still believable. One example of this element is how the Mariner “ ...Holds him with his glittering eye - The wedding-Guest stood still, And listens like a three years’ child: The Mariner hath his will.” (Coleridge 13). In this scene the supernatural is used to grab hold of the reader’s attention at the start of the poem and helps the reader be eased into the more complex supernatural elements that appear later on in the poem. One particular scene that is rather heavy on the supernatural element is when the Mariner encounters death.”Are those her ribs through which the Sun Did peer, as through a grate? And is that Woman all her crew? Is that a Death? And are there two? Is Death that Woman’s mate?” The audience understands that the Mariner didn’t actually meet death in corporeal form, but are willing suspend their disbelief in favor…show more content…
Seafaring is often linked to exploration and discovering the unknown; making it a great setting to include supernatural elements. When one is adrift in the vastness of the open sea for long periods of time it easy to see how one may create a story that may have more extravagant elements. Many people have heard of such tales from sailors thus coining the phase “Tales of the High Seas”. While there may be some truth to these tales they are often filled with the supernatural in order to make them more thrilling and engaging. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner falls includes a number of complex supernatural elements that push the boundaries of disbelief. Again, the audience must be willing to suspend their disbelief or they will simply fail to get any pleasure from a story. In the second poem, Christabel, the supernatural elements are much more muted and this allows the reader to relate a bit more with
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