The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Copy


Romanticism in Coleridge’ poems

  • Inaugurated the Romantic era in English poetry;
  • Poet of imagination, he explores the relationship between nature and mind;
  • Dramatic atmosphere of ballads inspired by the Middle Ages;
  • Medieval setting;
  • Uses mystery and supernatural elements in poems;
  • Romantic themes: nature, exotic places, mystery, foreboding feeling, awe;
  • Style – unique in the context of Romanticism: alliterations, assonances, onomatopoeias, internal rhymes, repetitions that have a musical sound.



Literary Form – ballad


  • Narrates a story;
  • Consists of simple 2/4 line-stanzas;
  • Has many descriptive details;
  • Dialogue – dramatic things happening;
  • The language is plain and formulaic, with lots of repetitions and parallelism.


Two levels:

  • Superficial level – a tale of horror in which a mariner is chased by disaster and supernatural forces after murdering an albatross;
  • Deeper level – all the creatures in the world have a special value and deserve to be respected;

The consequences of a single unthinking act;

The process of destruction and regeneration.


An old sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage stops a man who is on his way to a wedding and starts telling him his story. The man initially reacts with fear and impatience but eventually succumbs to the fascination of the story. Because he kills an albatross, a sign of good luck, the Mariner is blamed by the other sailors, who all die. The Mariner blesses the water snakes and lifts the curse, then starts travelling the world to tell his story.


Supernatural elements

  • symbolic/ allegorical figures representing the forces of nature
    • magical atmosphere

Religious symbols:

  • the albatross is like a cross, the Ancient Mariner is a Christ-like figure;
  • the albatross is Gods’ creation; killing it means indifference towards nature.


  • Repetition

Example: “Water, water everywhere”;

  • Alliteration

Example: “The breezes blew, the white foam flew,

The furrow follow’d free”.

  • Assonance

Example: “The Ship was cheer’d, the harbour clear’d”.

  • Simile

Example: “The sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky

       Lay like a load on my weary eye.” (comparison of the sky and the sea to a weight on the eye).

  • Personification

Example: “The Sun came up upon the left,

     Out of the sea came he!

     And he shone bright, and on the right

     Went down into the sea.”

The sun is personified as a man.

  • Paradox

Example: “Water, water everywhere

                 Not any drop to drink.”

  • The musicality of lyrics:InternalThrough certain figures of speech, such as alliteration, repetition, and assonance.


  • the albatross
  •  water
  •  the sun
  • the moon
  • the wind
  • sleep

Rich imagery:

The poet uses words and phrases to create “mental images” for the reader. These images help the reader visualise and experience the author’s writings realistically.

Example: “The ice was here, the ice was there, 

      The ice was all around:

      It cracked and growled, and roared and howled, 

      Like noises in a swound!”

            Visual and auditory images that depict ice as cracking, growling, and howling.