- Slides: 29
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 l The wedding guest is mesmerized by the Mariner’s passion and begins listening to the story.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l The Mariner’s Tale: l Their ship is driven south, by a storm, to a place of “mist and snow. ”
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l “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!”
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l Surrounded by ice.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l An albatross appears.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l The albatross leads them out of the fog.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l 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.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l Later, the wind stops and the ship is stranded for days, “As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean. ” l “Water, water, every where, and all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink. ” l The crew blames the Mariner for no wind and hangs the albatross around his neck as punishment.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l A ghost ship approaches with a Specter. Woman and her Death-Mate as crew.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l “Death” and “Life in Death” roll dice for the lives of the ship’s crew. l “Life in Death” wins.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l “Each turned his face with a ghastly pang, and cursed me with his eye” l “With heavy thump, a lifeless lump, they dropped down one by one. ” l “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!”
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l “Alone, all, all alone, alone on a wide sea! And never a saint took pity on my soul in agony. ” l “Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse, and yet I could not die. ”
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l “Beyond the shadow of the ship, I watched the watersnakes” l “O happy living things! No tongue their beauty might declare: A spring of love gushed from my heart, and I blessed them unaware”
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l The curse is lifted and the albatross falls from his neck and sinks “like lead into the sea. ”
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l The dead men awaken and the Mariner directs his ghostly crew North.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l As the Mariner returns to his home port, the spirits of his crew leave their bodies. l He receives forgiveness (shrieve) from a hermit.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l The Mariner’s ship sinks.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner l The story concluded, the wedding guest leaves “a sadder and a wiser man. ” l The Mariner must tell his tale to warn others (redemption).
Milton Parallels? Shelley’s Interpretation? (Paradise Lost) (Frankenstein) STRUCTURE: Sin, Punishment, Redemption… Of Adam & Eve - …cast into hell …forbidden fruit “…slimy things … “I shot the albatross” Slimy sea” “…and I had done a hellish thing…” “…the very deep did rot…” Of Coleridge …opium? Cain? Of Lucifer - Many critics see the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” as an allegory of some kind of fall, like… “witch’s oils, / …burnt green, and blue and white” Phantasmagoria! A shifting series or succession of things seen or imagined, as in a dream.
“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…
Purely inspirational? Dark gothic? “cursed me with his eye” “Life-in-death” “spectre bark” Gustav Doré’s Dark Etches…
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“)
“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” - “Hid in mist” - “dungeon-grate” Crew distanced from God “blessed them unawares”
Vs. 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. ”