The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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What is the scene setting of the poem, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," by Samuel Taylor Coleridge?

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Jamel Goldner eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The actual setting/scene of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is, essentially, a rock outside of a wedding celebration. The story that the Mariner tells is framed within this specific scene. The inner tale, the seafaring exploration and everything that went along with it, is essentially an epic anecdote. This can be seen via a focus on the beginning and end of Coleridge's poem.

The poem begins by setting up the frame in stanzas one through five. In stanza one, the Mariner stops one of three people, who asks the Mariner why he has been stopped. In stanza two, the stopped guest goes on to say the following:

"The Bridegroom's doors are opened wide
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May'st hear the merry din."
In stanzas three and four, the Mariner "holds" onto the man "with his skinny hand," and "his glittering eye" captivates the listener, at which time,
The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.
The Mariner then begins his anecdote, which fills stanzas six through eight. In stanzas nine and ten, Coleridge again returns to the frame:

The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

Coleridge then separates his audience from the frame setting until the beginning of Part IV, at which time the Wedding-Guest speaks up to address his fear of the story:
"I fear thee, ancient Mariner!
I fear thy skinny hand!
And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
As is the ribbed sea-sand.
I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
And thy skinny hand, so brown."—
Fear not, fear not,...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 638 words.)

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kathik eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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