How do meter and point of view contribute to the author's meaning in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is written in ballad meter. It uses a metrical scheme of alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter, rhymed ABAB. Because this was the metrical scheme used for traditional ballads, this places the work in a generic tradition of a narrative with folk elements, including use of the supernatural.

The point of view of the poem as a whole is third person, giving the reader an external view of the mariner, but much of the poem is actually reported speech, i.e. what the mariner says to the wedding guest, allowing the voice and character of the mariner to be expressed from the mariner's own point of view. This brings out the impact of the experience and how it transformed the nature of the mariner.