Ancient Mariner

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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The Rime of the Ancyent Mariner (1802 Edition) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge OVERVIEW: This long narrative poem in rhymed stanzas started as a collaborative effort with Wordsworth. Wordsworth, however, soon abandoned the project, leaving it to Coleridge to produce one of the outstanding poems of Lyrical Ballads. The basic story of sin and redemption is set within the framework of a wedding. As three jolly young fellows approach the wedding hall, one is stopped by a weird old man, the Mariner, who captures the youth's attention with a "glittering eye" and insists on telling his story.

PART 1. The story begins with the wedding guest trying in vain to get away and join the party, while the Mariner insists on telling his story. He was a seaman on a ship that was driven by storms to the Antarctic, where it became locked in ice. In this predicament, the ship was visted by an albatross, a great sea bird, that seemed to befriend the men.

They were glad to see the bird; they hailed it "in God's Name." Then their luck improved; the ice broke up and a breeze from the south pushed them north throught the fog. But suddenly, in what seems an act of perverse cruelty, the Mariner shot the benvevolent bird.

click here PART 2. Part 2 describes how the Mariner was criticized by his shipmates for killing the bird that made the wind blow. When the fog cleared, however, they decided that he was right to kill the bird that brought the fog and mist. When the ship reached the southern Pacific Ocean, the breeze stopped and the ship was becalmed under a hot, baking sun. In the midst of an ocean of water, the ship dried out and the men became parched from thierst. They turned...