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In what terms is the setting out of the ship described?

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tsurdahl | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 8, 2010 at 5:02 AM via web

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In what terms is the setting out of the ship described?

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 8, 2010 at 8:06 AM (Answer #1)

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Concerning Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," I'm not sure what you mean by "out of the ship."  I assume you're talking about the setting other than the ship.  I'll answer based on that assumption.

First, there are two settings, the first of which is a city, maybe London, in which the Ancient Mariner corners the wedding guest and tells him his story.  I'll skip that one and talk about the main setting, the sea and sky.

At first, the sea is bright with sunshine and the sea is calm, then a storm hits and propels the ship south and into a sea of ice.  This is a natural setting with natural weather.  The ship is trapped in the ice.

The albatross arrives, however, and the setting begins to shift toward the supernatural.  The ice splits and the ship sails to safety, due to the presence of the bird, it is assumed.

After the Mariner kills the albatross for no good reason, the setting continues to move to the supernatural.  The fickle sailors go back and forth between condemning the Mariner and praising him, but soon there is no question that the albatross is being revenged.

In short, the sun is "bloody," no wind blows and the ship is stranded, slimy things crawl on the sea, a skeleton ship approaches, water snakes move in tracks of shining white.

The supernatural setting reflects the injustice of the Mariner killing one of God's creatures.

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