Is there any information and reasources on the Rime of the Ancient Mariner?

Expert Answers
ssengupta eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course there are resources for, and information about The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Check enotes. It all depends on what you want to know.

Not knowing the purpose of your question, I will, briefly, give a synopsis of the poem, and place it in the context of Romantic Poetry. But, bear in mind: very briefly. If you want to know more, feel free to write to me. Incidentally, if you haven't alread, you will do well to consult "enotes" for material on this poem -- text, Coleridge's life, and so on.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was published in a little volume of poetry, jointly written by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, primarily as a reaction to eighteenth century poetry of "reason." I will write a little more about it later. In this volume, the two poets wanted their poems to be simple, easily understood by anybody who was literate, and expressive of raw human emotions.

SYNOPSIS: a wedding guest, while on his way to the wedding, was accosted by a strange looking man: old, gaunt, and with a pair of incredibly piercing eyes that cast a hypnotic stare at the wedding guest. He had to listen to his story, and he wouldn't take a no for an answer.

This old man had been a sailor who, while on a journey to somewhere, had intentionally, and for no apparent reason, shot down an albatross, a sea-faring bird. All the rest of the sailors strongly disapproved his act and, as the sail went out of its wind, the ship stopped completely.The rest of the sailors blamed him for it and, as punishment, hung the dead bird around his neck. When he tried to take it off, it wouldn't come off!

Eventually, the expected happened. The sailors began to die one by one, cursing him as they died. Everybody died, expect him. For him, there was no respite. Slowly, however, after many strange events, some of which were grotesque fearsome and ugly, and some beautiful to behold, the sailor began to realize his path to redemption. He saw in a dream that he had suffered for his sins, and was told by the priest of a different boat that had come to rescue him, that if he repented he would be saved. How would he repent? By telling someone the strange and wonderous story of his sea-faring journey. Hence, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

THE POEM IN THE CONTEXT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY:The poem, as I have said, was one of the poems featured in The Lyrical Ballads. Compared to the reasoned, rationalistic verse of the eighteenth century, it must have come as a big surprise to readers. They were used to poems like The Vanity of Human Wishes, arrogant, sermon like, written in heroic couplets; or Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard, doleful, melancholy and philosophical. The Augustans (for that was the eighteenth century literary people called themselves!) prided themselves in writing poetry which, Sir William Temple, a scholar and tutor to Jonathan Swift,said, "made sense." They had no time for spernatural riff-raff except perhaps when they wrote satires. So, coming at the fin de ciecle (end of a century), The Lyrical Ballads took every one by storm.



Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question