The Rime of the Ancient Mariner January 15, 2013
At the end of Part 1, the mariner shoots the albatross
A sense of absence and loss, but at the beginning the good wind is still there
Near stanza 3 he talks about the crime of killing the bird. The crew agrees
The crew changes their minds and agrees that he did the right thing in killing the bird and praise
him for it
The wind stopped and water was still, therefore the ship couldn’t move
o Marks the beginning of their punishment
Ominous diction: idle, water water everywhere nor any drop to drink –irony, death fires, bloody
sun, painted ship upon a painted ocean, slimy, death-fires,
o DYING WORLD.
Part two ends with the crew blaming the mariner and making him wear the dead albatross from
his neck. Symbol of the burden, blame, “the cross he has to bear”,
Repetition of the words weary.
The crew sees a speck in the sky, and them it seemed a mist, a shape,
Drinks his blood in order to give a form of moisture to him so he could call out to what he
thought was a ship
Prays to the virgin mary (Like Gawain did)
Looking through the “bars” created by the sun reflection of the boat onto him, gives the
impression of being jailed
They think it is death, and a woman, who he calls nightmare life in death –personification,
represented like a harlot
o State of living while you’re dead. –being without purpose, walking dead
o Sense of being trapped
At this point Life-in-Death wins, and then the ship leaves.
The Mariner watches as all the members of the crew die, but he is not allowed to die. He is left
in Life-in-Death as she won him. Death won the crew members
He deserves the punishment for the crime of killing the bird
Nadir –darkest moment of a poem
Mariner is wondering why he did not die.
The narrator goes back to the frame: with the Mariner telling the story to the Wedding Guest
o Wedding guest tells the Mariner that he’s afraid of him.
He looks like death, the wedding guest is afraid that he is a ghost
o Mariner tells him that “this body dropped no down” –he is not a ghost.
o Repetition of the word “alone”
Line 244 –he tries to pray but cannot because his heart is “dry as dust”
A dimension of his twisted mind.
He hears “the wicked whisper”
The bodies of the crew members don’t decompose or rot The look in the eyes of the dead men is as if they are cursing him. He saw that curse for 7 days, 7
263 –mariner realizes he cannot die and is stuck in this state of alienation
Mariner sees the water snakes and discusses the rich, sensual colour imagery –previously
mentioned as slimy things, he then starts to see his identity with them, because they are the
only things that live, as he is the walking dead
o “Oh happy living things”
o Suddenly sees nature differently,
o Happens under the light of the moon