Study Guide

Christabel Speaker

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Speaker

It is not really clear who the speaker is in this poem. In fact, there appears to be more than one speaker at times, since the tone shifts dramatically from the main sections of the poem to the conclusion sections. Whoever the speaker is, though, he or she (it's never totally clear which) is very morally upright and maybe just a tad melodramatic. There are places where the speaker's reaction to what is happening almost seems like an over-reaction, which leads the reader to suspect Geraldine of some foul play from the very beginning: "O shield her! shield sweet Christabel!" (254). The speaker's concern over Christabel is so extreme in places that we can't help but to think that this is intentional—Coleridge never intended for Geraldine's sinister nature to be in question. The only mystery is just what kind of creature Geraldine is and what she plans on doing to poor Christabel. Unfortunately, we'll never know—and neither will this unnamed speaker.

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