Wednesday, April 15, 2015

“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

Do you have "Top 500 Poems"? If you look up "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" for this discussion if you are not familiar with the poem already!

"Why a wedding guest? What could Coleridge hope to achieve by framing his tale this way?

This story seems quite odd. I don’t know exactly why he would have chose a wedding guest, but the idea of a wedding and guests are prevalent throughout scripture. It seems to be a significant topic for parables to prove ones point.

What characteristics does this “Rime” share with other ballads?

It is telling a specific story, but with an innate purpose. It is rather sentimental or romantic. I am sure there are much more similarities ! Please comment!

What do you notice about the placement and frequency of internal rhyme?

"The guests are met, the feast is set:"

"And he shown bright, and on the right"

"The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast"

"Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken--"

In all of these examples the rhyme occurs withing the same line. In most places it also occurs on the third line. I think that is accomplishes much of the same idea as writing a few very short sentences right after each other in an essay. Your mind automatically dramaticises and reads the short sentences or sentence fragments with more emotion. To me, the rhyming also makes the flow of the story easier.

Here is a quick summary of the events of the poem and the lesson it sets out to teach:

Three guests are going to a wedding when one is stopped by an ancient Mariner, who proceeds to tell the guest about an extremely odd experience. The guest is spell bound by ancient man’s eyes, and even though he hears the bridal music, it seems he is unable to leave from hearing the Mariner’s tale.

 The mariner tells how the storm drove his crew to the south pole. He tells of a land filled with ice, scary sounds and no living things, when a bird called Albatross comes and is received with hospitality as if he was from God. This seems to be the beginning of a successful journey back, as things are going well, until the men blame the Mariner for the thirst and hunger and kill the Albatross. 

This is the beginning of the nightmare that is to unfold. When Life-in-Death, wins over Death, the ancient mariner, things turn bad; All his crew dies one by one and is inhabited by a sort of blessed spirit. These spirits take him back to his native country where they come into their true forms, leaving the dead bodies, and leave the Mariner.

The Mariner ends up traveling around compulsively telling his story and exhorting and seeks to teach by his own example, love and reverence to God and kindness towards others. The last exhortations of the Mariner also seem to be the lesson, the poem is demonstrating.

What do you think? Have you read "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"? Do you agree with my assessment? Comment your thoughts below!