The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Questions and Answers
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Why is "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" a Romantic poem?

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Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads was such an important milestone in the history of Romanticism that the Romantic period in England is sometimes dated from 1798, the year it first appeared in print. Wordsworth contributed many poems to the collection, and Coleridge contributed only one. That one, however, was a long, complex, and highly significant text: "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

Given the status of the Lyrical Ballads as a manifesto of Romanticism, it is hardly surprising that it has so many of the quintessential features of Romantic poetry. The lines are short, and the words are simple and direct. The poem concerns common people in heroic situations. The mariner is a social outcast, forcing society (in the persona of the wedding guest) to hear his message (for who is more socially included than a wedding guest?). The poem deals with elemental forces of nature and what happens when humankind fails to respect these forces. The atmosphere of the poem (in particular, the...

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