A Biographical Analysis of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner".

Essay by sdibUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2005

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"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is a somewhat lengthy poem concerning the paranormal activities of a sea mariner and his crew. The work was constructed to be the beginning piece in Lyrical Ballads, a two-volume set written by William Wordsworth and Coleridge. Wordsworth intended to, in his volume, make the ordinary seem extraordinary, while Coleridge aimed to make the extraordinary ordinary. "The Rime" was first published in 1798. Despite the current popularity of the piece, it was harshly criticized upon being first published. One of "The Rime's" toughest opponents was Wordsworth himself, who claimed that the poem had "neither characterization nor proper agency nor skill in the handling of imagery" (Fry, 12). Wordsworth even bluntly described the piece as being in the wrong overall meter (Fry, 12). Because of these presumed flaws, "The Rime" was edited into several subsequent editions, being released in 1800, 1802, 1805, 1817, and 1834.

When a reader examines "the Rime," the piece first appears to be merely that of an archaic ghost story. Throughout the years though, many have analyzed the poem from various angles of interpretation. Some of the methods used to decipher "The Rime" have included reader-response, Marxist, new historicism, psychoanalytic, and even deconstruction analysis. While each of these alternatives provides an individualistic prospective on the poem, they are all somewhat different, and can even be objective at times depending on the reader in question. While "The Rime" may have been constructed to address slavery, the economy, or even morality, it can also be greatly appreciated when looked at in terms of content and the life of its author. The significant events that the Mariner endures through, including death (albatross), isolation, endlessly wandering, and ultimate salvation, can all be seen in the personal life of...