The Supernatural and Punishment in Coleridge's Selected Works
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The supernatural, apart from being an element widening the range of imagination in literature from past to present, is an agent in the daily lives, folk and religious beliefs of people for explaining the unknown. As one of the prominent poets of the Romantic era, Samuel Taylor Coleridge is known for his frequent use of the supernatural in his works in various ways such as an unusual landscape, a character, an event, or a power. In his works he interprets the supernatural both as benevolent and malignant, depending on the one who controls it. In this context, in the first chapter of this thesis, Coleridge’s “The Wanderings of Cain” (written in 1798, published in 1828), The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (written and published in 1798), and “Kubla Khan” (written in 1800, published in 1816) are studied in terms of their treatment of the divine supernatural possessed by a divinity or the spiritual forces, used as a means of punishment for the sins committed against nature, a human being or the religious orders. In the second chapter, Osorio (written and published in 1797), “Christabel” (written in 1797-1800, published in 1816) and “The Three Graves” (written in 1797-1798, published in 1809) are studied focusing on the earthly supernatural as a means of punishment possessed and controlled by humans, and human-formed beings for evil purposes. In the mentioned works it is observed that the divine supernatural is presented as a power to preserve justice, and accordingly the works have a didactic purpose. On the other hand, when the supernatural is possessed by human beings with evil nature, it is made use of in order to punish and harm the innocent human beings. Consequently, this thesis puts forward that in the mentioned works, Coleridge presents the supernatural as a means of punishment and also points out that the natural order which is subverted by the evil and the sinful people can be remedied if only the supernatural power is controlled by a divinity; otherwise, it functions to create chaos.