The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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The excerpt from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Explain how the lesson the Mariner has learned and must teach exemplifies the Romantic ideal that literature should...

The excerpt from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Explain how the lesson the Mariner has learned and must teach exemplifies the Romantic ideal that literature should praise nature. 

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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While you have not provided an excerpt, I can certainly help you with understanding how Coleridge's famous poem, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" exemplifies the Romantic ideal of praising, or more accurately, appreciating, nature. 

Let's begin with a definition of the Romantic (capital "R") movement. The era known as Romanticism originated in Europe and had its heyday from about 1800-1850. The movement itself was a backlash against the Enlightenment, whose adherents believed that all things were knowable and that there was ultimately no such thing as "mystery." In contrast, Romanticists believed in the far less concrete ideas that come from emotion and imagination; further, Romanticists believed that both imagination and emotion were ways to reach a state of transcendence (truths that lay outside the physical world). 

Here are the basic beliefs of Romanticists in regard to how they experienced and interpreted the natural world: "Romantic literature tends to emphasize a love of nature, a respect for primitivism, and a valuing of the common, "natural" man. Romantics idealize country life and believe that many of the ills of society are a result of urbanization. Nature for the Romantics becomes a means for divine revelation." Let's see how those beliefs play out in "Rime": 

Personification:  This is a literary device which is used to give human qualities to something non-human and/or the representation of a human quality in abstract form. We see this very early on, in lines 41-44: 

And now the STORM-BLAST came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.
 
"Tyranny" is something cruel and oppressive, usually related to government, something that leaders deliberately set out to do, imposing their will on their subjects. The wind here obviously does not have any agenda; it is created by, simply reacting, the scientific principles of nature. The wind here is also given characteristics of a bird of prey, chasing its quarry as it flaps its enormous wings, chasing the...

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