Which segments are repeated throughout "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner?" Describe at least four and explain why they are repeated.

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There is much repetition found in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." The types of repetition found within the poem are alliteration, assonance, internal rhyme, and general repetition (typical of the traditional folk ballad). Each could be defined as a segment based upon each line's ability to exist as a separate entity within the poem.

Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of a consonant sound (typically the initial sound of a word). An example of alliteration in the poem is found in line 103 of part two.

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew.

In this line, the "f" sound in "fair," "foam," and "flew" is repeated. This is included to create a sing-sing effect in the poem.

Assonance: Assonance is similar to alliteration, but the repetition sound is that of a vowel. An example of assonance is found in line 108 of part two.

'Twas sad as sad could be;

In this line, the "a" sound in "sad" and "as" is repeated. The use of assonance adds to the way the lines sounds as they roll off of the tongue (when read). Assonance softens the words and the mood of the poem. Some could argue that this compounds the dreamlike state of the Mariner during his constant retelling of his tale.

Internal rhyme: Internal rhyme is a rhyme which occurs within a single line of poetry and can also be found in following lines. An example of internal rhyme is found in line 7 of part one.

The guests are met, the feast is set.

Here, the words "met" and "set" are defined as existing as an internal rhyme. Like alliteration, the use of internal rhyme adds to the song like quality of the Mariner's tale.

Repetition: Repetition is the repeating of a word, phrase, or stanza. This repetition is used to enhance an idea or make something stand out. An example of repetition is found in lines 135, 139, and 141.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,

Here, in line 135, "day after day" is repeated. Coleridge wants readers to feel the seriousness of the Mariner's situation. By repeating "day after day," readers are made aware that the ship was still for a long time.

In lines 139 and 141, the phrase "water, water, everywhere" is repeated. That said, the separation of "everywhere" in line 141 compounds the fact that the ship is surrounded by water. This separation adds to the drawing out of the hopelessness of the ship and its crew.

Further Reading:
Read the study guide:
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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