illustration of the Ancient Mariner in the ocean with an albatross tied around his neck

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Discussion Topic

Romantic and medieval elements in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

Summary:

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" features both Romantic and medieval elements. Romantic aspects include the emphasis on nature, the supernatural, and the mariner's intense personal experience. Medieval elements are evident in the poem's use of archaic language, the narrative style reminiscent of medieval ballads, and the moral and religious themes woven throughout the story.

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

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 mariner's narration) is highly emotional and is intended to arouse strong emotions in the reader. All these factors mark the poem out as Romantic.

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

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is a Romantic poem in that it offers up a picture of nature as an organic whole. Coleridge passionately believed that each and every creature in God's creation was joined together in a primal unity. From the highest to the lowest, all of God's creatures have their part to play in his creation. Even the humble albatross has his place in nature, which it is no one's business to disturb.

This would explain why the mariner brings so much misfortune on himself and his fellow shipmates by killing an albatross. In doing so, he has disturbed the intricate fabric of God's creation. As the mariner is part of the same organic whole as the bird, in killing it, he is killing a part of himself. If just one part of this whole should suffer, then we all suffer. In killing the bird, the mariner has unwittingly undermined the balance of primal forces that exists in the natural world, and he must suffer before that natural balance is restored.

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

Romanticism emerged as a sort of reaction against the Age of Reason and all of its characteristics. As such, the characteristics of Romanticism tend to be the opposite of Age of Reason characteristics. Where the Age of Reason leans toward logic and plausibility, Romanticism leans much more heavily toward the imaginative and fantastical. "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" fits those characteristics. Coleridge crafted a poem around an ancient mariner narrating about a ship adventure complete with undead sailors. (Coleridge was creating the Pirates of Caribbean motif long before Disney did it.) Romanticism also has a heavy focus on the importance of nature, and this poem has that element as well. It can be argued that everything bad that happened to the mariner and the rest of the crew resulted from mankind's killing of the albatross. Finally, Romanticism does also tend to focus on societal outcasts. People like tramps and beggars hold a special place of importance in Romantic literature, and that is exactly who the Mariner is. He is a man who wanders about looking for specific people to tell his amazing tale to.

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

By Romantic Poetry, that means that it possesses qualities of the Romantic Era.  In Romantic poetry, the authors began doing new things.  First, they used common language.  Many of the poets used dialect, which brought in a whole new audience, not just the wealthy and educated.  Second, they used emotion in their writings.  The third one is what ties "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" to the Romantic period.  Nature was used more openly than ever before.  The theme of this poem is that we must respect nature in all of its forms.  This poem was written by Coleridge, and it was in the collection of poetry that he and Wordsworth put together (Lyrical Ballads).  Wordsworth was known as the Father of English Romanticism.

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How does "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" exemplify the characteristics of the Romantic Period?

A fine question. "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" exemplifies the Romantic period through the following:
1) It created exotic and imaginary alternatives to known society.
2) It emphasized the power of poetry (the Mariner telling the story).
3) It accented the power of the image (the albatross!)
4) It accented the importance of emotion, and of individual action.
5) It happened in a symbolic dreamscape, one full of meaning.
6) It incorporate Gothic/horror elements, another period development (see Frankenstein for example).
7) It uses relatively ordinary speech, a conscious choice on the part of the Romantic poets.

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What makes "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" obviously from the Romantic Period? Give examples to support.

Rime is from the Romantic Era because of the aspects which define romantic literature.  These include the supernatural, the love of nature, the individual instead of the good of society as a whole, emotion vs. reason, and imagination vs. logic.

In Rime, supernatural occurs several times.  First, the mariner "holds" the wedding guest in a sort of trance for the telling of the story.  Also, the ghost ship appears without wind or current, the ship is sailed by angel-possessed bodies of the crew.

Nature is paramount with the killing of the albatross and the blessing of the sea snakes.  He also makes it a theme with the quote "all creatures great and small, the lord God made them all".

The mariner is the individual in this tale.  He survives, but is destined to seek out one individual at a time forever to whom he will tell his tale. It is usually a person who needs to hear the tale and learn the lesson.

There is much emotion in the poem as well--although the mariner never truly gets "emotional" there is anger from the sailors who suspect their bad luck is due to the mariner's murdering the albatross.  There is shock from the Pilot and the Pilot's boy about the mariner's appearance.

Imagination is evident as well.  There is much original material here encompassed in the frame story of the wedding guest being held hostage and missing the wedding in order to learn to respect all creatures in nature.

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

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" displays characteristics of both Romantic and modern poetry.

The poem's Romantic elements stand out clearly. It contains, for instance, a strong sense of the supernatural. The mariner's experiences with the albatross, the death ship, and the powers and spirits of the sea are all supernatural and deeply Romantic, as is the poem's emphasis on descriptions of the natural world. The poet even personifies elements of nature, like the wind and water—yet another Romantic trend. Over all this lies a strong component of Christian spirituality. The albatross may be interpreted as a symbol of Christ, for instance, and the mariner finds salvation through prayer and learns that love of all creatures is the true meaning of life.

That said, however, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" also contains some modern elements that shift away from Romanticism. Coleridge, for instance, experiments with his poetic form, as many modern poets do. He varies his stanza lengths rather than keeping them consistent throughout, and his meter is sometimes rather loose and variable as well. Even his rhyme scheme varies significantly throughout the poem. Further, Coleridge inserts marginal glosses next to the primary text of the poem that offer a secondary perspective. He also deliberately plays with his language, using archaic forms to enhance the linguistic interest of the poem. These kinds of experiments are largely modern in nature.

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What are the characteristics of high romanticism in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner?

I'm guessing that you are asking about literary Romanticism, such as Coleridge's. Some characteristics of Romanticism are:

a delight in the past/the Gothic/the medieval

orientalism/interest in the exotic

primitivism

anti-intellectualism

sentimentalism/enjoying emotion for its own sake

humanitarianism

democracy/hostility to monarchial authority

originality/diversity

confessionalism

belief in the purgative purpose of art (for the artist)

love of nature, especially the wild and picturesque

glorification of the commonplace

In part, Romanticism was a response to the Industrial Revolution's more mechanical, urban world. This new world created a hunger for intense personal emotion, fantasy, mystery and heroes.

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What three Romantic Age elements are evident in Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"?

The previous post was extremely thorough.  I would like to add one more element present in the poem.  The relationship with nature as being one where human beings must live in harmony with the creatures of consciousness is a profound one in the poem.  The killing of the albatross and the bad sense of karma that transpires because of it is not only radical for its time period, but one of the most profound elements of Romanticism.  Romantics believed in the natural setting, but they also stressed that there must be a synchronicity between humans and the world in which they inhabit.  At a time when individuals were appropriating the world in accordance to their own material subjectivity, such a belief was ahead of its time.  There is this social sensitivity that Coleridge is unabashed in showing and displaying, representative of Romantic thought and insightful in its essence.   It is through this act that the supernatural can happen and the revelation that humans are a part, not the whole, of the natural setting.

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What three Romantic Age elements are evident in Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"?

Three elements of writing characteristic of the Romantic Age that are present in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner are a view of nature as a place of purity and peace in which God is manifest, an emphasis on dreams and visions, and a focus on emotion and feeling.

Romantics viewed nature as a pure and healing element, a place where God could be found. It is significant that when the albatross first appears, the sailors greet it "as if it had been a Christian soul (and) hailed it in God's name" (lines 64-65). Because it is part of nature, the albatross is treated with reverence and respect. When the Mariner kills the albatross, he has placed himself at odds with nature, and nature expresses this disharmony, with "slimy things (that) crawl with legs upon the slimy sea" (lines 122-123), and the water burning "like a witch's oils...green and blue and white" (lines 126-127).

Dreams and visions are often found in Romantic literature. During the darkest hours of his punishment, the Mariner sees a lurid picture of the sun shining through a skeleton ship, "as if through a dungeon grate...with broad and burning face" (lines 176-177). On the skeleton ship he envisions two ghostly figures playing with dice, one called "Death," and the other "Life in Death" (lines 184-191).

In Romantic literature, emotions are given great importance. As his penance for killing the albatross, the Mariner is doomed to endure bouts of agony which return "at an uncertain hour" throughout his life, which can only be alleviated by retelling his tale (lines 579-582). The person who must be the recipient of his recitation is also determined by feeling alone; the Mariner says, "The moment that his face I see, I know the man that must hear me" (lines 586-587). 

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Describe the medieval and romantic elements in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

One way of analysing the Romantic elements of this incredible poem is looking at the role of nature and how it is shown to exert power over humans. Let us remember that Romanticism was dubbed as a "return to nature" and it emphasised the importance and the role of nature in our lives and how rationalism was taking us away from that. The strident message of this poem, as the Mariner learns to his cost, is that we cannot treat nature in a disrespectful way, as if we do, Nature will wreak her own revenge. Consider what happens straight after the Mariner kills the albatross:

And I had done a hellish thing

And it would work 'em woe:

For all averred, I had killed the bird

That made the breeze to blow.

Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,

That made the breeze to blow.

The Mariner, and the Wedding Guest by extension, learns that Nature is not something to be trifled with, or gainsaid or forgotten.

Secondly, considering medieval elements, one of the interesting aspects of this poem is the high number of archaic words, or words that are no longer used in society. Consider the following example:

Nor dim nor red, like God's own head,

The glorious Sun uprist.

"Uprist" is clearly an anachronistic word that is obviously no longer used in English language, yet the use of this poem clearly links it to a medieval past that, as the poem shows, still has an impact on us today.

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What are four romantic characteristics in parts 1–3 of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"?

This poem reflects the characteristics of the Romantic period in that it does reflect a love of and respect for nature, it uses supernatural elements of a fantastic nature, and elevates the common man (a sailor) as its hero.  It does not reflect romantic characteristics in its use of archaic language (eftsoons he droped his hand, etc.)

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What are four romantic characteristics in parts 1–3 of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"?

The end of the poem really reiterates the romantic concept of the connection between man and nature: "He prayeth well who loveth well both man and bird and beast." Also, the entire poem is a "nightmare vision" which reflects the romantic interest in the supernatural. The romantic fascination with nature is also played out when the Ancient Mariner has to tell his tale for penance because he violated the covenant between man and nature. Finally, the remote setting of the poem reflects the  romantic interest with the "hermit" archetype.

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What are four romantic characteristics in parts 1–3 of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"?

Here are some more specific examples of the romantic influences in the poem:1)  The power of nature – The major symbol that develops the power and the beauty of nature is that of the slimy creatures from part 4 in the poem.  At this point in the poem, the mariner is surrounded by 200 corpses (that of his crew).  He feels guilty for having led them to their demise and he wishes he could join them.  He looks down from his boat and is able to see the beauty in even these ugly, slimy creatures.  Realizing that they are made by God, he is able to pray for the first time in a long time.  Here, as in most romantic literature, nature has the power to heal.  The mariner is now in God’s favor.2)  Sin and repentance – One of the major themes from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is that of sin and repentance.  The mariner shot the albatross for no apparent reason.  Because of this lack of respect toward nature, the mariner lost God’s favor and is unable to pray.  As a punishment, his crew members tied the albatross around the mariner’s neck as a punishment for their bad luck.  However, when the mariner is able to see the beauty in the slimy creatures in the waters below, he realizes that these creatures are beautiful in God’s eyes and that he should have seen the beauty in the albatross.  At this very moment, the bird falls from his neck and falls into the water – proof that he has been forgiven.

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What are four romantic characteristics in parts 1–3 of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"?

4 characteristics are the evidence of nature, self-reflection, atonement and repentence, and salvation.  There are also more characteristics of the Romantic Era in it, as well, which I'm sure others may provide for you.

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