Cover image of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Metaphor Activity

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Metaphor Activity

by eNotes

  • Release Date: February 18, 2020
  • Subjects: Language Arts and Literature
  • Age Levels: Grade 10, Grade 7, Grade 8, and Grade 9
  • Pages: 8
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Document Details


This activity gives students an opportunity to practice examining and analyzing metaphors. Metaphors express images, emotions, actions, experiences, and nuances through direct and indirect comparisons, allowing readers to access deeper levels of meaning in the text. In this activity, students will classify and analyze different kinds of metaphors in order to develop close reading skills and draw inferences from the text.

In “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” a narrative poem set primarily at sea, Samuel Taylor Coleridge weaves a fantastic tale of sin and redemption. The poem’s narrator is a mysterious old sailor with a “glittering eye”—the titular ancient mariner himself—who is compelled to tell his story. The text features a series of dramatic, often eerie, supernatural events that require “the willing suspension of disbelief” as the plot unfolds. Coleridge’s poem is noted for its striking imagery, which is often created through his use of metaphor in describing the setting and the strange events at sea that change forever the old mariner’s life.

Skills: analysis, drawing inferences from text, close reading, identifying the relationship between words

Learning Objectives:
In completing this activity, students will

  • examine metaphors in a text;
  • classify metaphors in a text as direct and indirect;
  • analyze metaphors by focusing on the two things being compared and interpreting how one of them is described through the comparison.


Our eNotes Classroom Activities give students opportunities to practice developing a variety of skills. Whether analyzing literary devices or interpreting connotative language, students will work directly with the text. The main components of our classroom activities include the following:

  • A handout defining the literary elements under discussion, complete with examples
  • A step-by-step guide to activity procedure
  • An answer key or selected examples for reference, depending on the activity

In completing these classroom activities, students will be able to classify and analyze different literary elements, thereby developing close-reading skills and drawing deeper inferences from the text.

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