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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. An Ancient Mariner stops one (of three) on his way to a wedding. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

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the rime of the ancient mariner

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

slide2

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

An Ancient Mariner stops one (of three) on his way to a wedding.

the rime of the ancient mariner3
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • The wedding guest is mesmerized by the Mariner’s passion and begins listening to the story.
the rime of the ancient mariner4
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • The Mariner’s Tale:
  • Their ship is driven south, by a storm, to a place of “mist and snow.”
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • “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!”
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • An albatross appears.
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • The albatross leads them out of the fog.
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • The Mariner shoots the albatross. At first the crew condemns him, but when a favorable breeze appears, they justify his action. This implicates them in his crime.
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • Later, the wind stops and the ship is stranded for days, “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 crew blames the Mariner for no wind and hangs the albatross around his neck as punishment.
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • A ghost ship approaches with a Specter-Woman and her Death-Mate as crew.
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • “Death” and “Life in Death” roll dice for the lives of the ship’s crew.
  • “Life in Death” wins.
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • “Each turned his face with a ghastly pang, and cursed me with his eye”
  • “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 cross-bow!”
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • “Alone, alone, all, all alone, alone on a wide wide sea! And never a saint took pity on my soul in agony.”
  • “Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse, and yet I could not die.”
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • “Beyond the shadow of the ship, I watched the water-snakes”
  • “O happy living things! No tongue their beauty might declare: A spring of love gushed from my heart, and I blessed them unaware”
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • The curse is lifted and the albatross falls from his neck and sinks “like lead into the sea.”
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • The dead men awaken and the Mariner directs his ghostly crew North.
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • As the Mariner returns to his home port, the spirits of his crew leave their bodies.
  • He receives forgiveness (shrieve) from a hermit.
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • The Mariner’s ship sinks.
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • The story concluded, the wedding guest leaves “a sadder and a wiser man.”
  • The Mariner must tell his tale to warn others (redemption).
slide23

Many critics see the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” as an allegory of some kind of fall, like…

Milton Parallels?

(Paradise Lost)

Shelley’s Interpretation?

(Frankenstein)

STRUCTURE:

Sin, Punishment, Redemption…

Of Coleridge -

…opium?

Of Lucifer -

Of Adam & Eve -

“witch’s oils, / …burnt green, and blue and white”

…cast into hell

…forbidden fruit

Cain?

“…slimy things …

Slimy sea”

“I shot the albatross”

Phantasmagoria! A shifting series or succession of things seen or imagined, as in a dream.

“…and I had done a hellish thing…”

“…the very deep did rot…”

slide24

“poetry gives most pleasure when only generally and not perfectly understood"

- Coleridge

Many critics maintain, as Christopher Lamb does, that the ‘Ancient Mariner’ is a work of complete and pure imagination. As…

No single interpretation seems to fit the entire poem…

In essence, it is a very imaginative and unusual piece…

slide25

Purely inspirational?

  • Dark gothic?
  • “cursed me with his eye”
  • “Life-in-death”
  • “spectre bark”

Gustav Doré’s Dark Etches…

slide26

Coleridge felt a deep sense of sin, for his opium addiction.

The poem could be his way of fathoming his feelings.

The “strange power” of the Ancient Mariner, as his difficult feelings.

“mingled strangely with my fears”

“I know that man … must hear me” / “To him my tale I teach”

Hence, his sensitivity and saying that the poem should not be analyzed?

(“poetry gives most pleasure when only generally and not perfectly understood“)

slide27

A Christian Parable About Respect?

“Instead of the cross, the Albatross/ About my neck was hung”

“I had killed the bird / That made the breeze to blow”

“Hailed it in God’s name”

“Christian soul”

“Crimson red like Gods own head”

Crew distanced from God

- “Hid in mist”

“blessed them unawares”

- “dungeon-grate”

slide28

Science

Vs.

Spirituality

Some critics maintain that this ballad was an exploration, by Coleridge, into the science vs. spirituality debate:

There are many mysterious fantastical images,  the “glittering eye” with its “strange power…”

 the “polar spirits” and “seraph band…”

He was at a point in his life where he was more concerned with the rational than the empirical, this poem was an exploration of the former.

The Latin preface says, “Human cleverness has always sought knowledge of these things, never attained it.”