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The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner Analysis

Author: Poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge Type: Poetry Views: 8666

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Part IIt is an ancient Mariner,

And he stoppeth one of three.

'By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,

Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?The bridegroom's doors are opened wide,

And I am next of kin;

The guests are met, the feast is set:

Mayst hear the merry din.'He holds him with his skinny hand,

"There was a ship," quoth he.

'Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!'

Eftsoons his hand dropped he.He holds him with his glittering eye-The Wedding-Guest stood still,

And listens like a three years' child:

The Mariner hath his will.The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:

He cannot choose but hear;

And thus spake on that ancient man,

The bright-eyed Mariner."The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,

Merrily did we drop

Below the kirk, below the hill,

Below the lighthouse top.The sun came up upon the left,

Out of the sea came he!

And he shone bright, and on the right

Went down into the sea.Higher and higher every day,

Till over the mast at noon-"

The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,

For he heard the loud bassoon.The bride hath paced into the hall,

Red as a rose is she;

Nodding their heads before her goes

The merry minstrelsy.The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,

Yet he cannot choose but hear;

And thus spake on that ancient man,

The bright-eyed Mariner."And now the storm-blast came, and he

Was tyrannous and strong:

He struck with his o'ertaking wings,

And chased us south along.With sloping masts and dipping prow,

As who pursued with yell and blow

Still treads the shadow of his foe,

And foward bends his head,

The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,

And southward aye we fled.And now there came both mist and snow,

And it grew wondrous cold:

And ice, mast-high, came floating by,

As green as emerald.And through the drifts the snowy clifts

Did send a dismal sheen:

Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken-The ice was all between.The ice was here, the ice was there,

The ice was all around:

It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,

Like noises in a swound!At length did cross an Albatross,

Thorough the fog it came;

As it had been a Christian soul,

We hailed it in God's name.It ate the food it ne'er had eat,

And round and round it flew.

The ice did split with a thunder-fit;

The helmsman steered us through!And a good south wind sprung up behind;

The Albatross did follow,

And every day, for food or play,

Came to the mariner's hollo!In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,

It perched for vespers nine;

Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,

Glimmered the white moonshine."'God save thee, ancient Mariner,

From the fiends that plague thee thus!-Why look'st thou so?'-"With my crossbow

I shot the Albatross."Part II"The sun now rose upon the right:

Out of the sea came he,

Still hid in mist, and on the left

Went down into the sea.And the good south wind still blew behind,

But no sweet bird did follow,

Nor any day for food or play

Came to the mariners' hollo!And I had done a hellish thing,

And it would work 'em woe:

For all averred, I had killed the bird

That made the breeze to blow.

Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,

That made the breeze to blow!Nor dim nor red, like God's own head,

The glorious sun uprist:

Then all averred, I had killed the bird

That brought the fog and mist.

'Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,

That bring the fog and mist.The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,

The furrow followed free;

We were the first that ever burst

Into that silent sea.Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down,

'Twas sad as sad could be;

And we did speak only to break

The silence of the sea!All in a hot and copper sky,

The bloody sun, at noon,

Right up above the mast did stand,

No bigger than the moon.Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.Water, water, every where,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, every where,

Nor any drop to drink.The very deep did rot: O Christ!

That ever this should be!

Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs

Upon the slimy sea.About, about, in reel and rout

The death-fires danced at night;

The water, like a witch's oils,

Burnt green, and blue, and white.And some in dreams assured were

Of the Spirit that plagued us so;

Nine fathom deep he had followed us

From the land of mist and snow.And every tongue, through utter drought,

Was withered at the root;

We could not speak, no more than if

We had been choked with soot.Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks

Had I from old and young!

Instead of the cross, the Albatross

About my neck was hung."Part III"There passed a weary time. Each throat

Was parched, and glazed each eye.

A weary time! a weary time!

How glazed each weary eye-When looking westward, I beheld

A something in the sky.At first it seemed a little speck,

And then it seemed a mist;

It moved and moved, and took at last

A certain shape, I wist.A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!

And still it neared and neared:

As if it dodged a water-sprite,

It plunged and tacked and veered.With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,

We could nor laugh nor wail;

Through utter drought all dumb we stood!

I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,

And cried, A sail! a sail!With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,

Agape they heard me call:

Gramercy! they for joy did grin,

And all at once their breath drew in,

As they were drinking all.See! see! (I cried) she tacks no more!

Hither to work us weal;

Without a breeze, without a tide,

She steadies with upright keel!The western wave was all a-flame,

The day was well nigh done!

Almost upon the western wave

Rested the broad bright sun;

When that strange shape drove suddenly

Betwixt us and the sun.And straight the sun was flecked with bars,

(Heaven's Mother send us grace!)

As if through a dungeon-grate he peered

With broad and burning face.Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)

How fast she nears and nears!

Are those her sails that glance in the sun,

Like restless gossameres?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?Her lips were red, her looks were free,

Her locks were yellow as gold:

Her skin was as white as leprosy,

The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she,

Who thicks man's blood with cold.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.The sun's rim dips; the stars rush out:

At one stride comes the dark;

With far-heard whisper o'er the sea,

Off shot the spectre-bark.We listened and looked sideways up!

Fear at my heart, as at a cup,

My life-blood seemed to sip!

The stars were dim, and thick the night,

The steersman's face by his lamp gleamed white;

From the sails the dew did drip-Till clomb above the eastern bar

The horned moon, with one bright star

Within the nether tip.One after one, by the star-dogged moon,

Too quick for groan or sigh,

Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,

And cursed me with his eye.Four times fifty living men,

(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)

With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,

They dropped down one by one.The souls did from their bodies fly,-They fled to bliss or woe!

And every soul it passed me by,

Like the whizz of my crossbow!"Part IV'I fear thee, ancient Mariner!

I fear thy skinny hand!

And thou art long, and lank, and brown,

As is the ribbed sea-sand.I fear thee and thy glittering eye,

And thy skinny hand, so brown.'-"Fear not, fear not, thou Wedding-Guest!

This body dropped not down.Alone, alone, all, all alone,

Alone on a wide wide sea!

And never a saint took pity on

My soul in agony.The many men, so beautiful!

And they all dead did lie;

And a thousand thousand slimy things

Lived on; and so did I.I looked upon the rotting sea,

And drew my eyes away;

I looked upon the rotting deck,

And there the dead men lay.I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;

But or ever a prayer had gusht,

A wicked whisper came and made

My heart as dry as dust.I closed my lids, and kept them close,

And the balls like pulses beat;

Forthe sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky,

Lay like a load on my weary eye,

And the dead were at my feet.The cold sweat melted from their limbs,

Nor rot nor reek did they:

The look with which they looked on me

Had never passed away.An orphan's curse would drag to hell

A spirit from on high;

But oh! more horrible than that

Is the curse in a dead man's eye!

Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,

And yet I could not die.The moving moon went up the sky,

And no where did abide:

Softly she was going up,

And a star or two beside-Her beams bemocked the sultry main,

Like April hoar-frost spread;

But where the ship's huge shadow lay,

The charmed water burnt alway

A still and awful red.Beyond the shadow of the ship

I watched the water-snakes:

They moved in tracks of shining white,

And when they reared, the elfish light

Fell off in hoary flakes.Within the shadow of the ship

I watched their rich attire:

Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,

They coiled and swam; and every track

Was a flash of golden fire.O happy living things! no tongue

Their beauty might declare:

A spring of love gushed from my heart,

And I blessed them unaware:

Sure my kind saint took pity on me,

And I blessed them unaware.The selfsame moment I could pray;

And from my neck so free

The Albatross fell off, and sank

Like lead into the sea."Part V"Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,

Beloved from pole to pole!

To Mary Queen the praise be given!

She sent the gentle sleep from heaven,

That slid into my soul.The silly buckets on the deck,

That had so long remained,

I dreamt that they were filled with dew;

And when I awoke, it rained.My lips were wet, my throat was cold,

My garments all were dank;

Sure I had drunken in my dreams,

And still my body drank.I moved, and could not feel my limbs:

I was so light-almost

I thought that I had died in sleep,

And was a blessed ghost.And soon I heard a roaring wind:

It did not come anear;

But with its sound it shook the sails,

That were so thin and sere.The upper air burst into life!

And a hundred fire-flags sheen,

To and fro they were hurried about!

And to and fro, and in and out,

The wan stars danced between.And the coming wind did roar more loud,

And the sails did sigh like sedge;

And the rain poured down from one black cloud;

The moon was at its edge.The thick black cloud was cleft, and still

The moon was at its side:

Like waters shot from some high crag,

The lightning fell with never a jag,

A river steep and wide.The loud wind never reached the ship,

Yet now the ship moved on!

Beneath the lightning and the moon

The dead men gave a groan.They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,

Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;

It had been strange, even in a dream,

To have seen those dead men rise.The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;

Yet never a breeze up blew;

The mariners all 'gan work the ropes,

Where they were wont to do;

They raised their limbs like lifeless tools-We were a ghastly crew.The body of my brother's son

Stood by me, knee to knee:

The body and I pulled at one rope,

But he said nought to me."'I fear thee, ancient Mariner!'

"Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest!

'Twas not those souls that fled in pain,

Which to their corses came again,

But a troop of spirits blest:For when it dawned-they dropped their arms,

And clustered round the mast;

Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,

And from their bodies passed.Around, around, flew each sweet sound,

Then darted to the sun;

Slowly the sounds came back again,

Now mixed, now one by one.Sometimes a-dropping from the sky

I heard the skylark sing;

Sometimes all little birds that are,

How they seemed to fill the sea and air

With their sweet jargoning!And now 'twas like all instruments,

Now like a lonely flute;

And now it is an angel's song,

That makes the heavens be mute.It ceased; yet still the sails made on

A pleasant noise till noon,

A noise like of a hidden brook

In the leafy month of June,

That to the sleeping woods all night

Singeth a quiet tune.Till noon we quietly sailed on,

Yet never a breeze did breathe;

Slowly and smoothly went the ship,

Moved onward from beneath.Under the keel nine fathom deep,

From the land of mist and snow,

The spirit slid: and it was he

That made the ship to go.

The sails at noon left off their tune,

And the ship stood still also.The sun, right up above the mast,

Had fixed her to the ocean:

But in a minute she 'gan stir,

With a short uneasy motion-Backwards and forwards half her length

With a short uneasy motion.Then like a pawing horse let go,

She made a sudden bound:

It flung the blood into my head,

And I fell down in a swound.How long in that same fit I lay,

I have not to declare;

But ere my living life returned,

I heard and in my soul discerned

Two voices in the air.'Is it he?' quoth one, 'Is this the man?

By him who died on cross,

With his cruel bow he laid full low

The harmless Albatross.The spirit who bideth by himself

In the land of mist and snow,

He loved the bird that loved the man

Who shot him with his bow.'The other was a softer voice,

As soft as honey-dew:

Quoth he, 'The man hath penance done,

And penance more will do.'Part VIFirst VoiceBut tell me, tell me! speak again,

Thy soft response renewing-What makes that ship drive on so fast?

What is the ocean doing?Second VoiceStill as a slave before his lord,

The ocean hath no blast;

His great bright eye most silently

Up to the moon is cast-If he may know which way to go;

For she guides him smooth or grim.

See, brother, see! how graciously

She looketh down on him.First VoiceBut why drives on that ship so fast,

Without or wave or wind?Second VoiceThe air is cut away before,

And closes from behind.Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high!

Or we shall be belated:

For slow and slow that ship will go,

When the Mariner's trance is abated."I woke, and we were sailing on

As in a gentle weather:

'Twas night, calm night, the moon was high;

The dead men stood together.All stood together on the deck,

For a charnel-dungeon fitter:

All fixed on me their stony eyes,

That in the moon did glitter.The pang, the curse, with which they died,

Had never passed away:

I could not draw my eyes from theirs,

Nor turn them up to pray.And now this spell was snapped: once more

I viewed the ocean green,

And looked far forth, yet little saw

Of what had else been seen-Like one that on a lonesome road

Doth walk in fear and dread,

And having once turned round walks on,

And turns no more his head;

Because he knows a frightful fiend

Doth close behind him tread.But soon there breathed a wind on me,

Nor sound nor motion made:

Its path was not upon the sea,

In ripple or in shade.It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek

Like a meadow-gale of spring-It mingled strangely with my fears,

Yet it felt like a welcoming.Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,

Yet she sailed softly too:

Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze-On me alone it blew.Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed

The lighthouse top I see?

Is this the hill? is this the kirk?

Is this mine own country?We drifted o'er the harbour-bar,

And I with sobs did pray-O let me be awake, my God!

Or let me sleep alway.The harbour-bay was clear as glass,

So smoothly it was strewn!

And on the bay the moonlight lay,

And the shadow of the moon.The rock shone bright, the kirk no less,

That stands above the rock:

The moonlight steeped in silentness

The steady weathercock.And the bay was white with silent light,

Till rising from the same,

Full many shapes, that shadows were,

In crimson colours came.A little distance from the prow

Those crimson shadows were:

I turned my eyes upon the deck-Oh, Christ! what saw I there!Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat,

And, by the holy rood!

A man all light, a seraph-man,

On every corse there stood.This seraph-band, each waved his hand:

It was a heavenly sight!

They stood as signals to the land,

Each one a lovely light;This seraph-band, each waved his hand,

No voice did they impart-No voice; but oh! the silence sank

Like music on my heart.But soon I heard the dash of oars,

I heard the Pilot's cheer;

My head was turned perforce away,

And I saw a boat appear.The Pilot and the Pilot's boy,

I heard them coming fast:

Dear Lord in heaven! it was a joy

The dead men could not blast.I saw a third-I heard his voice:

It is the Hermit good!

He singeth loud his godly hymns

That he makes in the wood.

He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away

The Albatross's blood."Part VII"This Hermit good lives in that wood

Which slopes down to the sea.

How loudly his sweet voice he rears!

He loves to talk with marineers

That come from a far country.He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve-He hath a cushion plump:

It is the moss that wholly hides

The rotted old oak-stump.The skiff-boat neared: I heard them talk,

'Why, this is strange, I trow!

Where are those lights so many and fair,

That signal made but now?''Strange, by my faith!' the Hermit said-'And they answered not our cheer!

The planks looked warped! and see those sails,

How thin they are and sere!

I never saw aught like to them,

Unless perchance it wereBrown skeletons of leaves that lag

My forest-brook along;

When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow,

And the owlet whoops to the wolf below,

That eats the she-wolf's young.''Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look-(The Pilot made reply)

I am afeared'-'Push on, push on!'

Said the Hermit cheerily.The boat came closer to the ship,

But I nor spake nor stirred;

The boat came close beneath the ship,

And straight a sound was heard.Under the water it rumbled on,

Still louder and more dread:

It reached the ship, it split the bay;

The ship went down like lead.Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,

Which sky and ocean smote,

Like one that hath been seven days drowned

My body lay afloat;

But swift as dreams, myself I found

Within the Pilot's boat.Upon the whirl where sank the ship

The boat spun round and round;

And all was still, save that the hill

Was telling of the sound.I moved my lips-the Pilot shrieked

And fell down in a fit;

The holy Hermit raised his eyes,

And prayed where he did sit.I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,

Who now doth crazy go,

Laughed loud and long, and all the while

His eyes went to and fro.

'Ha! ha!' quoth he, 'full plain I see,

The Devil knows how to row.'And now, all in my own country,

I stood on the firm land!

The Hermit stepped forth from the boat,

And scarcely he could stand.O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!

The Hermit crossed his brow.

'Say quick,' quoth he 'I bid thee say-What manner of man art thou?'Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched

With a woeful agony,

Which forced me to begin my tale;

And then it left me free.Since then, at an uncertain hour,

That agony returns;

And till my ghastly tale is told,

This heart within me burns.I pass, like night, from land to land;

I have strange power of speech;

That moment that his face I see,

I know the man that must hear me:

To him my tale I teach.What loud uproar bursts from that door!

The wedding-guests are there:

But in the garden-bower the bride

And bride-maids singing are;

And hark the little vesper bell,

Which biddeth me to prayer!O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been

Alone on a wide wide sea:

So lonely 'twas, that God himself

Scarce seemed there to be.O sweeter than the marriage-feast,

'Tis sweeter far to me,

To walk together to the kirk

With a goodly company!-To walk together to the kirk,

And all together pray,

While each to his great Father bends,

Old men, and babes, and loving friends,

And youths and maidens gay!Farewell, farewell! but this I tell

To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!

He prayeth well, who loveth well

Both man and bird and beast.He prayeth best, who loveth best

All things both great and small;

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all."The Mariner, whose eye is bright,

Whose beard with age is hoar,

Is gone; and now the Wedding-Guest

Turned from the bridegroom's door.He went like one that hath been stunned,

And is of sense forlorn:

A sadder and a wiser man

He rose the morrow morn.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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hello my dear pals of misery AND interlect. I hope you have enjoyed this poem of shear depresion and lulllabyish words. goodbye.

| Posted on 2012-02-02 | by a guest

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Actually, it is more commonly believed the the mariner killing the albatross was a syboml of Christs\' death on the cross. Jesus had come to help the lost and show them the true way and lead them. This can be seen in the albatross showing the mariner and his crew the way out of the ice field.

| Posted on 2011-08-24 | by a guest

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We\'re analyzing this poem in English now. I too wondered why the Mariner shot the Albatross, if not for food. I also thought it was a parallel to Christ\'s story and the rest of the poem focuses on how the Mariner must pay his penance for his sin.
My class saw a lot of duality in this poem. For example the images of the sun / moon contrast one another. The copper sun is unbearable, even though the sun is typically associated with light / daytime / happiness. Yet at the same time you have the ship of Death + Life-in-Death whose masts block out parts of the sun - almost as if the sun is a prisoner. Perhaps Coleridge is saying that man has tried to imprison nature by dominating it (A statement against the Industrial revolution and man\'s belief that science would solve everything). The Mariner is also taken prisoner in a way, by Life-In-Death...while his crew dies before him. The Mariner\'s fate is definitely much worse than the crew\'s, because he still has to live through the pain and suffering while theirs has ended.

| Posted on 2011-03-03 | by a guest

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I also wondered why he shot the albatross the first time I read this poem. My teacher told me that it was because he couldn't stand all the goodness happening, but this did not make sense to me.
My own interpretation, now I have studied the poem, is that Coleridge uses the ancient mariner shooting a bird as a message, or a number of messages. I found that the turn of events after the shooting were where the messages developed and became clearer. Coleridge could be showing the albatross to symbolise christ; just as christ had the ability to guide souls to heaven, the albatross had the ability to guide the sailors to safety. In part three, life-in-death (who could represent the devil) forbids the ancient marinor's soul to leave his body, so he is made to redeem his sins through atonement.
Although, the death of the albatross, could simply be a message not to shoot birds as bad things will happen to you, as shown in the poem.
Or, it could represent an emotional journey through depression.
Remember, the poem was written in the romantic era, so Coleridge would be experimenting with this genre.
English Literature is simply about interpreting texts differently and learning lessons from others, so there isn't one complete right or wrong answer. So, when people have said others are speaking rubbish, they are not, they are just voicing THEIR interpretation, and you don't have to agree with it.
Sources: Currently studying EngLit at AS level

| Posted on 2010-06-05 | by a guest

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I was assigned reading and memorizing this poem about 45 years ago in high school. It's lyrical style and rhythm enthralled me at the time and it stuck in my mind as little else ever has. It had no real meaning to me until I was diagnosed with depression about 25 years ago. It struck me that it was an almost perfect allegorical description of someone possessed by depression. Things appear one way but are changed later in context. Once the Mariner has lived through his personal Hell he is compelled to recount the story and perhaps warn others of the way depression can consume a person and let them do things they wouldn't ordinarily do. It is still my favorite bit of memorized poetry and ever serves to remind me of the difference between what is perceived and what is reality.

| Posted on 2009-12-19 | by a guest

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a very well brought out poem with human feelings and nature.

| Posted on 2009-09-28 | by a guest

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What is the ecocritical approach of rime of ancient mariner?
Can we aggre Colridge" symbolised that unspecified caused of kiling of albatrose will be the killing of natural environment after arrival on humal on Antarctica as the pride gained by Captain James Cook's.

| Posted on 2009-09-10 | by a guest

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this poem is marvellous which takes us to the imaginative world of coleridge.the way how did he write this poem is praiseworthy.when i read this poem i was feeling myself with the mariner and feeling the same agony.

| Posted on 2009-06-08 | by a guest

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does anyone know the what examiners are looking for in order to obtain Grade A test results (in the UK grading system)... ?

| Posted on 2009-04-27 | by a guest

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"Coleridge's audience would have pictured a British seaport, possibly London"
London isn't a "seaport", just to dispel a dangerously common myth, although it is on a stinking, brown river, just like about everywhere else on this Island.
Anyway, seen as the Mariner is pretty much condemned to wander the earth for all eternity, the wedding could be anywhere.

| Posted on 2009-04-22 | by a guest

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To find out more about this story and literary devices used, look up

| Posted on 2009-02-18 | by a guest

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Why exactly did he kill the Albatross? I still can't get my head around that bit.

| Posted on 2009-01-29 | by a guest

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could be considered a parallel to christ's salvation

| Posted on 2009-01-14 | by a guest

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Thanks for providing such a descriptive analysis of this piece of literature. I really think it will help me with my final exam collaborating this and a few other works into an elaborate essay.

| Posted on 2008-12-07 | by a guest

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I think that this poem is very complex, and contains some very intellectual imagery

| Posted on 2008-11-20 | by a guest

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I believe that The Ancient marinere is a very exciting poem, apart from being so long! Its extremely different and diverse in the way it has been written and i think that the way Coleridge expresses his Romantic felings are very moving, compared to some over the other poems from this movement.

| Posted on 2008-09-17 | by a guest

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This is trying to explain that even though people do bad things you will still feel sorry for them... it is anti-hero.

| Posted on 2008-04-11 | by a guest

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The Marinere is presented as being almost mythological as he surveys the wedding guest with his ‘glittering eye’. The Ballad, typically of the Romantic Movement takes place in a exotic and imaginative world with strange creatures and spirits. This exemplifies Coleridge’s fascination with the metaphysical and science. The Mariners fatal slip, relatively early on in the poem, when the old man nonchalantly shoots dead an Albatross, serves as a base for Coleridge to then indulge in the typicalitys of Romantic literature and the Ballad from.

| Posted on 2008-01-31 | by a guest

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this poem is about an ancient mariner and he is talking about his ship , it was taking by a storm toward the south pole. An albatross(hope bird) come to the boat and the mariner knew it but he decide to kill the bird. The ship was curse and the mariner has to put the albatross in his neck as a collar. A skeleton ship appears and the disappear every body dies but the mariner doesn't. He was alone, and he imagine snakes and he bless them and the albatross fell. He has to the this story for ever.

| Posted on 2007-11-09 | by a guest

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There are two settings in 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'. In the first scene an ancient mariner stops a guest at a wedding party and begins to tell his tale. The mariner's words then transport the reader on a long ocean voyage, returning to the wedding at the end of the poem. The story is probably set in the late medieval period; the town in which the action occurs is never named, although it is likely that Coleridge's audience would have pictured a British seaport, possibly London.

The mariner describes a voyage he took as a youth from an unnamed European country to the South Pole and back. The initial descriptions of the ship and its crew are fairly realistic, but as the ancient mariner undergoes his quest for understanding and redemption, the supernatural world increasingly engulfs him. His world becomes nightmarish when contrasted with the realistic world that he has left behind. At the same time, in the background, elements from the natural world are always present. For much of the poem, the mariner is adrift in the middle of the ocean, symbolically cut off from all human companionship.

There are several secondary themes in 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', relating to Christianity and the supernatural, and two primary themes. The first primary theme concerns the potential consequences of a single unthinking act. When the mariner shoots an albatross, he does it casually and without animosity. Yet this impulsive, destructive act is his undoing. Similar to other Romantics, Coleridge believed that the seeds of destruction and creation are contained each within the other. One cannot create something without destroying something else. Likewise, destruction leads to the creation of something new. The loss of the mariner's ship, shipmates, and his own former self ultimately leads to the regeneration of the mariner.

This process of destruction and regeneration introduces the poem's second main theme. The mariner gradually comes to realize the enormous consequences of his casual act, even as he struggles to accept responsibility for it. To do this he must comprehend that all things in nature are of equal value. Everything, as a part of nature, has its own beauty and is to be cherished for its own sake.

This realization is suddenly apparent when the mariner spontaneously recognizes the beauty of the sea snakes; his heart fills with love for them, and he can bless them 'unaware'. The moral of the tale is manifest in the ancient mariner's final words to the wedding guest: 'He prayeth best, who loveth best/ All things both great and small;/ For the dear God who loveth us,/ He made and loveth all.'

Coleridge focuses in the poem on humanity's relationship to the natural world. It is clear that the killing of the albatross brings dire consequences on the mariner. In a larger sense, it is not his killing of the bird that is wrong, but the mariner's—and by extension humankind's—callous and destructive relationship with nature that is in error. Coleridge intends to confront this relationship and place it in a larger philosophical context. If the reader grasps the lesson that the ancient mariner learns from his experience, then there are social implications.

Although the mariner's killing of the albatross, the terrifying deaths of his shipmates, and the grotesque descriptions of supernatural spirits are disturbing, these elements are intended to develop the story, to illustrate how the mariner's destructive act sets him apart, and to portray vividly the results of his act and the horrifying, repulsive world that he comes to inhabit because of it. The consequences are all the more terrible for having been set in motion by such a thoughtless act in the first place. Coleridge is working towards a goal—to portray the mariner's development into a sensitive, understanding, and compassionate human being. In so doing, he aims to persuade the reader to reconsider his or her attitudes towards the natural world.

Part of Coleridge's technique is to personify aspects of nature as supernatural spirits, yet he does not on any level develop an argument for pantheism (the belief that God and the material world are one and the same and that God is present in everything). A great deal of Christian symbolism and some allegory are present—particularly at the end of Part 4, where connections are made between suffering, repentance, redemption, and penance. These elements combine to form a rich texture of both natural and religious symbolism that can be profoundly moving.

The major character in 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' is the mariner who relates his chilling experiences. It is he who kills the albatross, suffers the consequences, learns from his sufferings, and earns his redemption. As part of his penance, he spends his life telling his tale to others as a warning and a lesson. At first sight, the mariner appears terrifying in looks and manner, but he is so intense that the wedding guest is compelled to listen. As the tale unfolds, the wedding guest's reactions to the mariner change from scorn to sympathy, and finally even to pity. The wedding guest serves as a plot device to frame and advance the story, but he also undergoes a transformation of his own. Startled by the mariner who accosts him, the wedding guest first appears as a devil-may-care gallant. However, by the time he has heard the mariner's dreadful tale, he has become thoughtful and subdued.

The mariner's shipmates are innocent victims of his rash act. Like the members of the wedding party, the sailors are purposefully kept vague and undeveloped, since Coleridge's intent is that the audience focuses its full attention on the plight of the mariner.

Supernatural beings appear in the poem as symbolic or allegorical figures, representing the forces of nature, life, death, and retribution. The mariner confronts these figures and must ultimately appease them in order to obtain his salvation.

| Posted on 2007-01-23 | by a guest

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can i just say that the kids that wrote all of that stuff up there are stupid and should be ashamed of themselves. you have nothing better to do then come on this site and tell people that they are "gay" then you really have some serious issues. this poem is for the enjoyment of other people and not here so that you can use it to chat with your friends. the next time you want to be idiots do it some where else where no one else has to be subjected to your adolescent assinile ways. try to read a book or something or maybe actually read this poem it might add some brain cells to your head that you do not have.
i think that this poem was very well thought out and interesting. i have no idea what was going through the authors head as he wrote it but maybe then again it actually was a story told to him. who knows but very well written!

| Posted on 2005-11-23 | by Approved Guest

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..dont you have better things to do with your time you nerd?
Yes You who wrote all this stupid junk above this post.
Yes You who wrote all this stupid junk above this post.Yes You who wrote all this stupid junk above this post.Yes You who wrote all this stupid junk above this post.Yes You who wrote all this stupid junk above this post.Yes You who wrote all this stupid junk above this post.Yes You who wrote all this stupid junk above this post.Yes You who wrote all this stupid junk above this post.Yes You who wrote all this stupid junk above this post.Yes You who wrote all this stupid junk above this post.Yes You who wrote all this stupid junk above this post.

| Posted on 2005-11-22 | by Approved Guest

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