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Guess Paper – 2011 Class – X Subject – English
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Summary
An Ancient Mariner, unnaturally old and skinny, with deeply-tanned skin and a "glittering eye", stops a Wedding Guest who is on his way to a wedding reception with two companions. He tries to resist the Ancient Mariner, who compels him to sit and listen to his woeful tale. The Ancient Mariner tells his tale, largely interrupted save for the sounds from the wedding reception and the Wedding Guest's fearsome interjections. One day when he was younger, the Ancient Mariner set sail with two hundred other sailors from his native land. The day was sunny and clear, and all were in good cheer until the ship reached the equator. Suddenly, a terrible storm hit and drove the ship southwards into a "rime" - a strange, icy patch of ocean. The towering, echoing "rime" was bewildering and impenetrable, and also desolate until an Albatross appeared out of the mist. No sooner than the sailors fed it did the ice break and they were able to steer through. As long as the Albatross flew alongside the ship and the sailors treated it kindly, a good wind carried them and a mist followed. One day, however, the Ancient Mariner shot and killed the Albatross on impulse. Suddenly the wind and mist ceased, and the ship was stagnant on the ocean. The other sailors alternately blamed the Ancient Mariner for making the wind die and praised him for making the strange mist disappear. Then things began to go awry. The sun became blindingly hot, and there was no drinkable water amidst the salty ocean, which tossed with terrifying creatures. The sailors went dumb from their thirst and sunburned lips. They hung the Albatross around the Ancient Mariner's neck as a symbol of his sin. After a painful while, a ship appeared on the horizon, and the Ancient Mariner bit his arm and sucked the blood so he could cry out to the other sailors. The ship was strange: it sailed without wind, and when it crossed in front of the sun, its stark masts seemed to imprison the sun. When the ship neared, the Ancient Mariner could see that it was a ghost ship manned by Death, in the form of a man, and Life-in-Death, in the form of a beautiful, naked woman. They were gambling for the Ancient Mariner's soul. Life-in-Death won the Ancient Mariner's soul, and the other sailors were left to Death. The sky went black immediately as the ghost ship sped away. Suddenly all of the sailors cursed the Ancient Mariner with their eyes and dropped dead on the deck. Their souls zoomed out of their bodies, each taunting the Ancient Mariner with a sound like that of his crossbow. Their corpses miraculously refused to rot; they stared at him unrelentingly, cursing him with their eyes. The Ancient Mariner drifted on the ocean in this company, unable to pray. One night he noticed some beautiful water-snakes frolicking at the ship's prow in the icy moonlight. Watching the creatures brought him unprecedented joy, and he blessed them without meaning to. When he was finally able to pray, the Albatross fell from his neck and sank into the sea. He could finally sleep, and dreamed of water. When he awoke, it was raining, and an awesome thunderstorm began. He drank his fill, and the ship began to sail in lieu of wind. Then the dead sailors suddenly arose and sailed the ship without speaking. They sang www.cbseguess.com Other Educational Portals www.icseguess.com | www.ignouguess.com | www.dulife.com | www.magicsense.com | www.niosguess.com | www.iitguess.com

however. The Ancient Mariner tells the Wedding Guest that he wanders from country to country. Especially in the 1817 text. The Ancient Mariner was overjoyed to see aPilot. They said he would continue to be punished for killing the Albatross.com | www." retribution comes in the form of natural phenomena. Just as the rescuers reached the ship. The Ancient Mariner tells the Wedding Guest that better than any merriment is the company of others in prayer. Once the ship reached the equator again. From the moment the Ancient Mariner offends the spirit of the "rime. Then they disappeared. serving as beacons to guide the ship home. In a move typical of Romantic poets both preceding and following Coleridge. he is temporarily relieved of his agony. At the poem's end. Only when the Ancient Mariner expresses love for the natural world-the water-snakes-does his punishment abate even slightly. the Pilot and Pilot's Boy lost their minds. It rains. it sank suddenly and created a vortex in the water. It was then that the Ancient Mariner learned of his curse. his boy.iitguess.com | www. The Ancient Mariner was not relieved. the natural world's power in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is unquestionable.http://www. A spirit. he heard two voices discussing his fate. We are told that he awakes the next day "sadder and. the Ancient Mariner preaches respect www. with a thick stream of fire pouring from one huge cloud. The wind dies. and especially typical of his colleague. and the Ancient Mariner spotted his native country's shore. he would be destined to tell his tale to others from beginning to end when an agonizing.ignouguess. but the storm is unusually awesome.wiser" for having heard the Ancient Mariner's tale. because He loves them all.c om/ heavenly music. all cursing him with their eyes once again. stunned.com | www.dulife. they disappeared as well.niosguess. the sun intensifies. physical urge struck him. After he related his tale to the Hermit. He planned to ask the Hermit to absolve him of his sin. After he tells it. When the Ancient Mariner awoke.cbseguess. because he realized that he was doomed to be haunted by them forever. he felt normal again. Then he vanishes. dominates the physical world in order to punish and inspire reverence in the Ancient Mariner. Then bright angels appeared standing over every corpse and waved silently to the shore.. the ship jolted. "rotting" and thrashing with "slimy" creatures and sizzling with strange fires. causing the Ancient Mariner to fall unconscious. He says that the best way to become close with God is to respect all of His creatures. in which Coleridge includes marginal glosses. In his swoon.com | www. William Wordsworth.com | www. The ocean becomes revolting.. The rescuers were able to pull the Ancient Mariner from the water. whether God or a pagan one. At times the natural world seems to be a character itself. based on the way it interacts with the Ancient Mariner. Coleridge emphasizes the way in which the natural world dwarfs and asserts its awesome power over man. Major Themes The Natural World: The Physical While it can be beautiful and frightening (often simultaneously). The wind picked up.cbseguess. who was loved by a spirit. The spooked Hermit asked the Ancient Mariner what kind of man he was. and has a special instinct that tells him to whom he must tell his story. the Wedding Guest walks home. Instead of joining the wedding reception. but thought he was dead. When he abruptly came to and began to row the boat. and it will not rain. which the ship's sails continued when they had stopped.magicsense. and a Hermit rowing a small boat out to the ship. Suddenly.icseguess. the dead sailors were grouped together.com Other Educational Portals www.com . it is clear that the spiritual world controls and utilizes the natural world.

Life-in-Death. Men (like Adam) feel the urge to define things. such as when people gather together in prayer. It is mortal. In the epigraph. Society can distance man from the sublime by championing worldly pleasures and abandoning reverence for the otherworld. are not necessarily Christian archetypes. Liminality "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" typifies the Romantic fascination with liminal spaces. society can also bring man closer to the sublime.com | www.http://www. This is why he valorizes the Hermit.cbseguess. The Ancient Mariner shoots the Albatross as if to prove that it is not an airy spirit. When the ghost ship carrying Death and Life-inDeath sails by. and not to him. whether a forest and a field." The Spiritual World: The Metaphysical "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" occurs in the natural. definable realm. who sets the example of both prayer and living in harmony with nature. because in order to respect God. he hears the First Voice and Second Voice discussing his fate.iitguess.com Other Educational Portals www.com | www. the voices.ignouguess. In a move typical of both Romantic writers and painters. Coleridge locates the spiritual and/or holy in the natural world in order to emphasize man's connection to it. the wedding reception represents man's alienation from the holy . sun. Death. the spirit that follows the sailors from the "rime". At the poem's end.c om/ for the natural world as a way to remain in good standing with the spiritual world. In this way. Coleridge's spiritual world in the poem balances between the religious and the purely fantastical.com | www. or reason and imagination. he valorizes the holy Hermit and the act of praying with others. and lack of wind and rain punish the Ancient Mariner and his shipmates. Rather than address him directly.com | www. the work has popularly been interpreted as an allegory of man's connection to the spiritual. the supernatural communicates through the natural. but only guide his ship. as when he blesses the water-snakes and is relieved of his thirst. "the image of a greater and better world. it is unclear whether the spirits are real or figments of his imagination. However. the Albatross is intimately tied to the spiritual world. A liminal space often signifies a liminal state www. Like all natural things. the Ancient Mariner affirms that one can access the sublime. require physical affirmation of the spiritual. The Ancient Mariner-and we the reader-being mortal beings. Burnet speaks of man's urge to "classify" things since Adam named the animals. When angels appear over the sailors' corpses near the shore. and the Ancient Mariner seems to feel this urge when he suddenly and inexplicably kills the Albatross. The Ancient Mariner detects spirits in their pure form several times in the poem.dulife. one must respect all of his creations.com | www. However." only by seeing the value of the mundane. However. shooting it from the sky as though he needs to bring it into the physical.niosguess. "the petty things of daily life. the Ancient Mariner overhears them gambling. metaphysical world.com .magicsense. things that are natural-their corpses-are inhabited by a powerful spirit. In his final advice to the Wedding Guest. they talk only about him. Even then. In all these instances. physical world-the land and ocean. but rather a mortal creature. he tries to "classify" the Albatross. The ocean.cbseguess. The Ancient Mariner's prayers do have an effect.icseguess. in a symbolic way. Then when he lies unconscious on the deck. but closely tied to the metaphysical.even in a religious tradition like marriage. and the angels. A liminal space is defined as a place on the edge of a realm or between two realms. When the dead men come alive to curse the Ancient Mariner with their eyes. spiritual world-it even flies like a spirit because it is a bird. and thus begins the Ancient Mariner's punishment by the spiritual world by means of the natural world. they do not talk to the Ancient Mariner.

The "rime" fits the archetype of the Romantic liminal space in that it is simultaneously terrifying and beautiful. there. For this reason they are often . / And youths and maidens gay!" He also champions the Hermit.magicsense." In the Ancient Mariner's story. Therefore his curse is somewhat of a blessing.associated with drug-induced euphoria.com Other Educational Portals www. but is forced to do so to relieve his pain.and especially in the case of Coleridge's poems . / And all together pray. and all others to whom he relates his tale enter into a momentary liminal state themselves where they have a distinct sensation of being stunned or mesmerized. and openly revere God's creatures. after all.com | www. such as the threshold of the imagination's wonders. definitive state.com . Coleridge expresses a fascination with the liminal state between the spiritual and natural. but has also been extremely close to the divine and sublime because of it. solid (ice). the "rime" exists just on its edge. is comparable to addiction. and Keats valorize the liminal space and state as places where one can experience the sublime.cbseguess. practice humility before God.com | www. He can compel others to listen to his story from beginning to end. Romantics such as Coleridge. The Ancient Mariner's shooting of the Albatross can be compared to several Judeo-Christian stories of betrayal.com | www.iitguess. The Ancient Mariner essentially preaches closeness to God through prayer and the willingness to show respect to all of God's creatures." It is liminal by its very physical makeup. Wordsworth. The Ancient Mariner suffers because of his experience in the "rime" and afterwards. The Wedding Guest. but are rather transported there by some other force. and indeed a powerful spirit inhabits the "rime. but must do so continually.http://www. Romantic poets frequently had their protagonists enter liminal spaces and become irreversibly changed. as in much of Romantic poetry. and in that the sailors do not navigate there purposely. condemned to be trapped in a limbo-like state where his "glittering eye" tells of both powerful genius and pain.cbseguess. He also says that he finds no greater joy than in joining others in prayer: "To walk together to the kirk.com | www. liminal spaces are bewildering and cause pain. The Ancient Mariner is caught in a liminal state that. www. liminal spaces and states are those in which pain and pleasure are inextricable." As punishment for his crime of killing the Albatross. many readers and critics have insisted on a Christian interpretation. but it is difficult not to find one in Part 7. the icy world of the "rime.c om/ of mind.niosguess. the Hermit. Starting in the epigraph to "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner".icseguess.com | www. No sooner has the ship crossed the equator than a terrible storm ensues and drives it into the poem's ultimate symbolic liminal space. but in all three forms: liquid (water). it is the threshold between the Earth's hemispheres. Following from this.dulife. or the mundane and the divine. and loving friends. and gas (mist). / Old men. and babes. who does nothing but pray. As a liminal space it holds great power. great and unusual knowledge accompanies his pain. the Ancient Mariner is sentenced to Lifein-Death. which is in a sense about as liminal a location as exists. but surrounding them are mountainous icebergs reminiscent of the land. Coleridge claimed that he did not intend for the poem to have a moral. water exists not in one a single. They are still most definitely in the ocean.ignouguess. / While each to his great Father bends. Whereas the open ocean is a wild territory representing the mysteries of the mind and the sublime. The first liminal space the sailors encounter is the equator. Religion Although Christian and pagan themes are confounded at times in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner". Recall that this is what Burnet calls the "certain [and] uncertain" and "day [and] night. He can relieve his suffering temporarily by sharing his story.

it quickly becomes a prison. Retribution "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is a tale of retribution. Like them. since the Ancient Mariner spends most of the poem paying for his one. The Albatross is even hung around the Ancient Mariner's neck to mark him for his sin. the Ancient Mariner imprisons others by compelling them to listen to his story.com | www. and they must endure the torment of seeing water all around them while being www. they become delirious from a debilitating state of thirst.c om/ including the original sin of Adam and Eve.magicsense. Even before the sailors die. the Ancient Mariner is already a sinner and cast out of the divine realm. their lips bake black in the sun. existing in a limbo-like rather than an Eden-like state. However. the sun. once the Ancient Mariner shoots the Albatross. Like Adam and Eve. The sailors' confinement in the disorienting "rime" foreshadows the Ancient Mariner's later imprisonment within a bewildered limbo-like existence. After he is rescued from the prison that is the ship. spirits can control not only mortals.com | www.icseguess. the Ancient Mariner can be seen as the archetypal Judas or the universal sinner who betrays Christ by sinning. The spiritual world avenges the Albatross's death by wreaking physical and psychological havoc on the Ancient Mariner and his shipmates. it does not ensure his salvation. and the sailors set out in one another's happy company. they are denied the basic human ability to communicate. he murders the "Christian soul" who could lead to his salvation and greater understanding of the divine.niosguess." The ice is "mast-high".com Other Educational Portals www.com | www.com | www. and Cain's betrayal of Abel." The ghost ship has such power that it can imprison even the epitome of the natural world's power. In the beginning of the poem. These lines symbolize the spiritual world's power over the natural and physical. Even more dramatically. like a real baptism. even though they have each other's company. Imprisonment "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is in many ways a portrait of imprisonment and its inherent loneliness and torment. kept alive to pass word of God's greatness onto others. Like Cain.dulife.iitguess. and the Ancient Mariner pays dearly for killing it. Though the rain baptizes him after he is finally able to pray.http://www. Most obviously. The first instance of imprisonment occurs when the sailors are swept by a storm into the "rime. as a son of Adam and Eve. They are cut off from civilization.ignouguess. the ship is a vehicle of adventure. the Ancient Mariner is subject to the indefinite imprisonment of his soul within his physical body. but the very planets themselves.cbseguess. and the captain cannot steer the ship through it. their punishment is extensive. However. the Ancient Mariner fails to respect God's rules and is tempted to try to understand things that should remain out of his reach. impulsive error of killing the Albatross. Without wind to sail the ship. the Ancient Mariner is like a strange prophet. His "glittering" eye represents his frenzied soul. / (Heaven's Mother send us grace!) / As if through a dungeon-grate he peered / With broad and burning face. Many readers have interpreted the Albatross as Christ. since it is the "rime" spirit's favorite creature. they are physically compelled to join him in his torment until he releases them. He is imprisoned by the addiction to his own story. as though trapped in the "rime" forever.com . the ship becomes a private prison for the Ancient Mariner. eager to escape from his ravaged body. In a sense.cbseguess.com | www. In the end. When the other sailors drop dead. the sailors lose all control over their fate. the Ancient Mariner angers God by killing another creature. Like Judas. he is forbidden from being truly close to the sublime. which silences them and effectively puts them in isolation. They are imprisoned further by thirst. the ghost ship seems to imprison the sun: "And straight the sun was flecked with bars.

but to sate a painful urge. The Act of Storytelling In "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. he compares the protagonist to himself: both are gifted storytellers who impart their wisdom unto others.icseguess.http://www. Coleridge implies that he. ourselves) from disregarding the natural and spiritual worlds. and disrespect of the natural world. he is equally enthralled and pained by his imagination.com | www. the pleasure of writing is marred with torment. Their gift is equally a curse.is part of the torture. The Ancient Mariner's tale comprises so much of the poem that moments that occur outside of it often seem like interruptions. The first is that retribution is blind.c om/ unable to drink it for its saltiness. the cure ." In this way.com | www. In retribution. We are not only Coleridge's audience. as well. Character List Ancient Mariner www. their souls flying either to heaven or hell. Eventually the sailors all die. yet he is also the constant victim of his own talent . as a human. inspired by anger and the desire to punish others. in the form of his curse. the writer writes not to please himself or others.com | www. and says that he has "strange power of speech. Presumably the spirit. but to the act of storytelling itself. In modern psychological terms. By associating himself with the Ancient Mariner. it forces the Ancient Mariner to endure eternal torment as well. presumably. in a sense . must endure eternal grief over the murder of its beloved Albatross.dulife. permanent consequences of momentary foolishness. being immortal. Coleridge uses the word "teach" to describe the Ancient Mariner's storytelling. Inherent in the writer's task is communication with others. is guilty of having at some point disrespected one of God's creatures-or if not.ignouguess. If the Ancient Mariner represents the universal sinner. But for the Ancient Mariner.com | www. whom he must warn lest they suffer a similar fate. the messages that the protagonist delivers to his audience apply to us. it provides only momentary relief until the urge to tell returns.niosguess. and storytelling is their drug. the Ancient Mariner as well as the writer relies on "the talking cure" to relieve himself of his psychological burden. even a spirit may hurt the wrong people. Just as the Ancient Mariner is forced to balance in a painful limbo between life and death. and by extension all writers. Storytelling is a preventative measure in the poem.com . There are at least two ways to interpret the fact that the sailors suffer with the Ancient Mariner although they themselves have not erred. The poem can also be seen as an allegory for the writer's task.cbseguess.a curse that torments." Like a writer.the Ancient Mariner speaks from beyond the grave to warn others about the harsh." Coleridge draws our attention not only to the Ancient Mariner's story.reliving the experience that started with the "rime" by repeating his "rhyme" . According to this interpretation. Therefore. but never destroys.com Other Educational Portals www.and may never.com | www. Though he never dies . selfishness. Coleridge paints an equally powerful and pathetic image of the writer.magicsense. Both are addicts. The second is that the sailors are implicated in the Ancient Mariner's crime. then each sailor. he would have in the future. but the Ancient Mariner's. But the eternal punishment called Life-in-Death is reserved for the Ancient Mariner. The Ancient Mariner is able to inspire the Wedding Guest so that he awakes the next day a new man.cbseguess. used to dissuade those who favor the pleasures of society (like the Wedding Guest and. are not only inspired but compelled to write. the writer is compelled and even condemned to balance in the liminal space of the imagination "until [his] tale is told.iitguess.

Its corpse is hung around the Ancient Mariner's neck as a reminder of his crime and falls off only when he is able to appreciate the beauty of nature and pray once more. When Life-in-Death wins the Ancient Mariner's soul. www.magicsense. They begin to suffer from debilitating heat and thirst.wiser. singing beautiful melodies.com | www. After the rain returns. The Ancient Mariner stops him.niosguess. who gets to claim the Ancient Mariner's soul. white sea bird that presumably saves the sailors from the icy world of the "rime" by allowing them to steer through the ice and sending them a good. however. He is cursed to be haunted indefinitely by his dead shipmates. and despite his protests compels him to sit and listen to the entirety of his story. Wedding Guest One of three people on their way to a wedding reception. Death wins the two hundred sailors.http://www. leaving only their corpses behind. He loses at dice to Life-in-Death. Even though their souls fly out.com Other Educational Portals www. instead. he becomes both "sadder and.com | www. Impulsively and inexplicably.com | www. deeply-tanned limbs and a "glittering eye. until the Ancient Mariner shoots it with his crossbow. The Albatross. naked. they once again curse the Ancient Mariner with their eyes and then disappear. strong wind. They feed and play with the Albatross until the Ancient Mariner inexplicably kills it.." He sets sail from his native country with two hundred other men who are all saved from a strange. He is afraid of the Ancient Mariner and yearns to join the merriment of the wedding celebration..iitguess. from which the Albatross frees them. the sailors come alive and silently man the ship. Albatross A great. he feels a physical agony that is abated only temporarily once he finishes telling the tale. he shoots the Albatross with his crossbow and is punished for his crime by a spirit who loved the Albatross. but after he hears the Ancient Mariner's story.icseguess. also makes a strange mist follow the ship. condemning him to a limbolike living death.dulife. The Night-mare Life-in-Death Embodied in a beautiful. continuously cursing the Ancient Mariner.com | www. He is unnaturally old. sunny day and find themselves in the icy world of the "rime" after a storm. She wins at dice over Death and gets to claim the Ancient Mariner's soul.c om/ The poem's protagonist.ignouguess. The Albatross is loved by a powerful spirit who wreaks havoc on and kills the sailors while leaving the Ancient Mariner to the special agony of Life-in-Death. ghostly woman with golden hair and red lips. and eats their food. their bodies refuse to rot and lie open-eyed on the deck. When the ship reaches the harbor.com | www. It flies alongside the ship. The Ancient Mariner is destined to suffer the curse of a living death and continually be haunted by their cursing eyes. Death Embodied in a hulking form on the ghost ship. he is next of kin to the bridegroom.cbseguess. Each time he is compelled to share his story with someone. icy patch of ocean when they are kind to an Albatross that lives there." The Sailors Two hundred seamen who set sail with the Ancient Mariner one clear.cbseguess. with skinny.com . the sailors' souls are left to Death and they curse the Ancient Mariner with their eyes before dying suddenly. plays with the sailors. They hang the Albatross's corpse around the Ancient Mariner's neck to punish him. and to be compelled to tell the tale of his downfall at random times.

com | www. crucifix An image of Christ's body on the cross or a bare cross commemorating Christ's crucifixion. The Hermit is the first person to whom the Ancient Mariner is compelled to tell his tale. pictoral.dulife.magicsense. He explains to the First Voice that the Ancient Mariner will pay for his crime much more dearly than he already has. He loses his mind when the Ancient Mariner abruptly comes to life and begins to row his boat. white sea bird native to the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere. Often worn around one's neck on a chain. and asks him to absolve him of his sin. worrisome burden" or "an obstacle to success. hermit A person who has chosen to live in seclusion from society. Even though the First Voice tells the Second Voice that the Ancient Mariner angered a spirit who loved the Albatross.c om/ Pilot The captain of the small boat that rows out to the Ancient Mariner's ship. and not the spirit who loved the Albatross. Hermit A recluse who prays three times a day and lives in communion with nature in the woods. because the spirit loved the bird. Second Voice The second of two voices presumably belonging to a spirit. Since the publication of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner".com | www. abruptly comes to life and takes the oars from him. First Voice One of two voices presumably belonging to a spirit. or theatrical. He explains that the Ancient Mariner offended a spirit by killing the Albatross. Allegory can be verbal.com | www.com .icseguess. kirk www. The Ancient Mariner hears the First Voice after he is knocked unconscious when the ship jolts forward.cbseguess. He loses his mind when the Ancient Mariner. the First Voice relies on the Second Voice to explain the Ancient Mariner's situation to him. Then he urges the First Voice onward.com | www. He accompanies the Pilot and the Pilot's boy on the small boat because "he loves to talk with mariners / from a far countree." allegory The depiction of abstract ideas through the use of characters and events. often in a wood. as they are hurrying somewhere. whom he thinks is dead.niosguess. written.cbseguess. Other than this moment.iitguess.com | www. "albatross" has also come to mean "a constant.com Other Educational Portals www.http://www. Pilot's Boy The assistant to the Pilot.ignouguess. The Second Voice is softer than the First Voice-"as soft as honey-dew"-and more knowledgeable. Glossary of Terms albatross A type of great. he rows the small boat." The Ancient Mariner reveres the Hermit as a righteous and holy man. the latter explains that the Moon and air move the ship in lieu of wind.

allowing the captain to steer out of the freezing world." in which "head" signifies "person. as they are denied admission to heaven. derived from the Middle English. the Ancient Mariner takes his hand and begins his story. we meet its protagonist. he set out sail on a ship full of happy seamen. The wind picked up again. As soon as the ship reached the equator. The original Catholic term refers to the realm to which the righteous but unbaptized are relegated after death.com | www. No sooner than the sailors fed the Albatross did the ice break apart.com . the Wedding Guest notices that the Ancient Mariner looks at www.ignouguess.cbseguess. tries to resist being stopped by the strange old man with the "long grey beard and glittering eye.com | www. ate the food the sailors gave it." He stops one of three people on their way to a wedding celebration. They sailed along smoothly until they reached the equator. All the while. and the festivities have already begun. he is the closest living relative to the groom. Finally. often permanent.com | www. The Wedding Guest beats his chest impatiently as the blushing bride enters the reception hall and music plays. Then the sailors reached a calm patch of sea that was "wondrous cold". Suddenly. full of snow and glistening green icebergs as tall as the ship's mast. At this point. who goes on with his tale.cbseguess.magicsense.dulife.com | www. an Albatross emerged from the mist. "an ancient Mariner. as though it were a "Christian soul" sent by God to save them. and continued for nine days.niosguess. and played with them. the sounds of the wedding interrupt the Ancient Mariner's story. The Wedding Guest has no choice but to sit down on a rock to listen. liminal An adjective referring to an elusive but sensually rich threshold between two different places or states. an intermediary space. The Ancient Mariner explains that one clear and bright day. theWedding Guest. meaning to absolve someone else of his sin. he is compelled to continue listening to the Ancient Mariner." He explains that he is on his way to enjoy the wedding merriment. shrieve A word now obsolete. limbo In common usage. Still. Example: "the concert costs five dollars a head. synechdoche A literary device in which part of an object symbolizes the whole.c om/ Church.http://www.icseguess.iitguess. However. The wind blew with such force that the ship pitched down in the surf as though it were fleeing an enemy. a terrible storm hit and forced the ship southwards. The sailors were the only living things in this frightening. the Albatross followed the ship. The leader of the group.com Other Educational Portals www. and the sailors revered it as a sign of good luck. enclosed world where the ice made terrible groaning sounds that echoed all around. swound Swoon." The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Summary and Analysis Part 1 In the poem's first line.com | www.

icseguess. In light of Burnet's quote. which Coleridge translates as follows: I readily believe that there are more invisible than visible Natures in the universe. there are more of them than their readily-perceivable counterparts such as humans and animals. because people perceive them only occasionally. we know there is more to him than the fact that he appears unnaturally old. day from night. the image of a greater and better world. just as the Ancient Mariner begins his tale." Yet there is more to his "glittering eye" than mere madness. Meanwhile I do not deny that it is helpful sometimes to contemplate in the mind. It is a Latin quote from Burnet's "Archaeologiae Philosophicae" (1692).com . Burnet. as he is able to compel the Wedding Guest to listen to his story with the fascination of a three-year-old child.magicsense. the Latin epigraph serves as a semi-thesis for the poem. lest the intellect. However. narrow itself and sink wholly into trivial thoughts.com Other Educational Portals www. the temporal world interjects itself into the storytelling haze in which the Ancient Mariner captures the Wedding Guest and reader. and the ranks and relations and distinguishing features and functions of each? What do they do? What places do they inhabit? The human mind has always sought the knowledge of these things. Analysis In editions where it is included. He exclaims: "God save thee.iitguess.indeed he is next of kin to the bridegroom and therefore intimate with the festival's worldly joy. "invisible natures" are difficult to classify. and can eventually reach the truth. imperfect world. but never attained it. one can say that the temporal world with its "petty" pleasures tempts the Wedding Guest.c om/ once grave and crazed.niosguess. By maintaining a balance between these two worlds.ignouguess.com | www. one avoids becoming too idealistic or too hopeless. the joyful sound of a bassoon at the wedding reception distracts the Wedding Guest. so that we may distinguish the certain from the uncertain. the traitor.http://www. there is great importance in the way in which he manages (or fails) to balance the spiritual and temporal worlds. the Ancient Mariner seems to have a touch of the otherworldly in him. the Ancient Mariner cannot www. Like the Ancient Mariner. the reader must navigate these interactions and worlds in order to understand the truth ingrained in the poem. who presumes he is mad and calls him a "greybeard loon. He has a "glittering eye" that immediately unnerves the Wedding Guest.cbseguess. and more. begins by acknowledging that "invisible natures" such as spirits. moreover. who authored the original quote.com | www. Meanwhile. For example. ancient Mariner! / From the fiends that plague thee thus!.com | www. as on a tablet. Burnet asserts that while it is important to strive to understand the ethereal and ideal. The Ancient Mariner as a character can be identified with a number of archetypes: the wise man. Coleridge asks the reader to pay careful attention to the near-constant interactions between the spiritual and temporal worlds in the poem. By prefacing "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" with this quote. ghosts. He is of that world .com | www. one must stay grounded in the temporal. From the Ancient Mariner's first interaction with the Wedding Guest. The epigraph suggests that regardless of with whom the reader associates the Ancient Mariner. Although he is clearly human./ Why lookst thou so?" The Ancient Mariner responds that he shot the Albatross with his crossbow. and angels exist. But at the same time we must be watchful for the truth and keep a sense of proportion. He "beat[s] his breast" in frustration that he is missing the festivities.dulife.com | www.cbseguess. habituated to the petty things of daily life. the writer. But who will explain for us the family of all these beings. Throughout Part 1.

which is closely connected to the spiritual world . Part 2 The ship sailed northward into the Pacific Ocean. It seems more important to them to make him claim responsibility for their fate than what their fate actually is. The sailors have an urge to pin whatever happens to them on the Ancient Mariner." a fate just as confining and terrifying as the "rime" itself is initially for the sailors.makes the sailors lose control of their course.com | www. water. / Water.magicsense. Coleridge may be poking fun at allegory in this section.c om/ enjoy the temporal world because he is condemned to perpetually relive the story of his past. even though when reading the poem. eerie fires seemed to burn on the ocean's surface. and at night. the water churned with "slimy" creatures.com Other Educational Portals www. one is hard-pressed not to discern www. He told reviewers after the poem's release that he did not intend for it to have a moral. the mist held fast. Some of the sailors dreamed that an evil spirit had followed them from the icy world. the spiritual and temporal worlds are confounded the moment the sailors cross the equator. / And all the boards did shrink." Therefore. The word "rime" can mean "ice". such birds to slay. where the Ancient Mariner's troubles begin." The sailors suddenly changed their opinion.iitguess.com . every where.cbseguess. the Ancient Mariner is condemned to feel perpetual pangs of terror that force him to tell his "rhyme.com | www." Then the sun became unbearably hot just as the sailors ran out of water. since he killed the Albatross for no good reason. The storm drives them into an icy world that is called "the land of mist and snow" throughout the rest of the poem. leading up to the most famous lines in the poem: "Water. and sat "As idle as a painted ship / Upon a painted ocean. Analysis Coleridge introduces the idea of responsibility in Part 2. In the Ancient Mariner's story itself. and they all suffered from a thirst so terrible that they could not speak. They decided that the Albatross must have brought the must.dulife. To brand the Ancient Mariner for his crime and place the guilt on him and him alone. the bird to slay / That made the breeze to blow!" Then the mist disappeared and the sun shone particularly brightly. and praise the Ancient Mariner for having killed it and rid them of the mist: "Twas right.ignouguess.com | www. every where.cbseguess. "like God's own head. By calling the poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.icseguess. / That bring the fog and mist. the sailors hung the Albatross's dead carcass around his neck. and can also be interpreted as an alternate spelling of the word "rhyme. they curse him for making the wind disappear. As we learn at the story's end." Coleridge equates the "rhyme" or tale with the actual "rime" or icy world." The ship sailed along merrily until it entered an uncharted part of the ocean. Suddenly the natural world .http://www. as much as the poem is the rhymed story of the Ancient Mariner. The ship could not move.com | www.niosguess. / Nor any drop to drink. which they believed had saved them from the icy world by summoning the wind: "Ah wretch! Said they. and although the sun shone during the day and the wind remained strong. it is also the tale of the "land of mist and snow": the "rime". and the wind disappeared. first." The ocean became a horrifying place. said they. water.com | www. The other sailors were angry with the Ancient Mariner for killing the Albatross. and then they praise him for making the mist disappear.

but is entirely undrinkable. But it is equally a spiritual place. are as indistinct there as the physical state of water. The major theme of liminality emerges more fully in Part 2. The equator is the boundary between the earth's hemispheres. and is therefore an extreme example of a liminal space. / Nor any drop to drink. In light of the epigraph.dulife. We are given no reason why the Ancient Mariner shoots the Albatross. in it.magicsense. Traditionally these places are borderlines. every where. such as the edge of a forest or a shoreline. and are threatened by creatures and strange lights in the water. They too punish him physically for his spiritual depravity.com | www." which will ultimately lead to the truth.com | www. He takes the bird out of the air and onto the deck.niosguess. coldness. It is as though he needs to bring the beauty of the spiritual world (embodied in the Albatross) down to the temporal world in order to understand it. wants to learn about the spiritual world. the icy world as a symbol suggests that this path to enlightenment is equally fascinating and terrifying.c om/ a moral message. Coleridge mocks those quick to judge. and bewildering echoes.icseguess. it is the fact that nothing there is easily definable. By having the sailors switch from blame to praise and back to blame again. The icy world represents a tenuous balance between the temporal and spiritual. what Burnet calls the "certain and uncertain" in the epigraph. whose senses it assaults with huge icy forms.http://www. and he does so without premeditation. The sailors add to the Ancient Mariner's physical punishment when they hang the Albatross around his neck. and from which he emerges wizened and saddened. but it is akin to a spirit. The most famous lines in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" are unquestionably: "Water. The Romantic hero. Recall from Part 1 that the ship's course is sunny and smooth until it crosses the equator and the storm begins. giving him a physical burden to remind him of the spiritual burden of sin he carries.com . The boundaries between the temporal and the spiritual. After that. and its murder wreaks spiritual havoc on the sailors. They are thirsty and sunburned. Rather. However.cbseguess. there are no visible creatures there besides the sailors.ignouguess. or desolateness of the icy world that makes it so terrifying.com Other Educational Portals www. In light of the epigraph.com | www. The icy world or "rime" itself is also a compelling liminal space. where it proves to be mortal indeed. www. water. water. Since the poem's publication. the spiritual world begins to punish the Ancient Mariner and the other sailors by making all elements of the temporal world painful. To go back to the preface.iitguess. like humans throughout time.is all around them. The Albatross is an animal.and especially Romantic literature .com | www.com | www. the Ancient Mariner shoots the Albatross because he. the sailors represent those too eager to discern the "certain" from the "uncertain". it represents the balance that one must seek between the "certain and uncertain. stumbles into a bewildering space where he struggles. preferring to see things in black-and-white terms. At first it seems to be the epitome of the temporal." The sailors are punished for the Ancient Mariner's mistake with deprivation made worse by the fact that what they need so badly water . water exists in all its three phases: ice. It is not necessarily the loudness. these lines have come into common usage to refer to situations in which one is surrounded by the thing one desires.a liminal space is where plot twists occur or things begin to go awry. In literature . but is denied it nevertheless. The physicality of the icy world represents its tenuousness. cannot sail for lack of wind. and mist.cbseguess. although he begins confident and with a clear mission. terrifying sounds. the dwelling of a very powerful spirit who wreaks havoc on the sailors to punish the Ancient Mariner for killing its beloved Albatross.

.___________________ Internal Rhyme Besides end rhyme.......and six-line stanzas....(tetrameter) .. rhymes AABCCBDDB.4 "The SUN..... the nineline stanza in Part III..........in TO...........now ROSE... though again there are many exceptions.magicsense....|.......com | www... Structure...com Other Educational Portals www..com | www..|.4 Still HID. are rhymed ABCCB......2........1............) The rhymes generally alternate in an ABAB or ABABAB scheme........... loud roared the blast (line 49) www..2..1........ Many stanzas include couplets in this way—five-line stanzas....com | www.Coleridge divides the poem into seven parts..cbseguess........2..up ON.. several have five or six lines.. Rhyme . the second or third line usually rhymes with the final line..............|....|.the RIGHT:....... (There are exceptions: In a five-line stanza........ without the internal rhyme..2....dulife.......|.3...the SEA..3 Out OF.ignouguess. The meter is also somewhat loose..1....... Following is an example (the first four lines of Part II) of a stanza with this pattern: ... Meter The meter alternates between iambic tetrameter (with four feet per line) and iambic trimeter (with three feet per line).http://www..niosguess..(tetrameter) ..... or ABAAB........3.... but odd lines are generally tetrameter............ lines one. while even lines are generally trimeter....|........ often with an internal rhyme in the first line... occasionally... In the four-line stanzas.......icseguess......3 Went DOWN.|....1......and ON.........came HE..(trimeter) ........ three........ short ballad stanzas usually either four or six lines long but. Most of the stanzas in the poem have four lines...(trimeter) .....in MIST....cbseguess.. for instance.. the second and fourth lines usually rhyme..... The guests are met...the SEA......com . Following are examples......iitguess. and four are likely to have four accented syllables—tetrameter—while lines two and five have three accented syllables..|..com | www....|.com | www..|... as many as nine lines long. In the five....... Coleridge also frequently uses internal rhyme.. for instance.c om/ orm “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is written in loose..the LEFT. for example...... the feast is set (line 7) The ship drove fast.

com . no more than if We had been choked with soot...dulife. the Albatross About my neck was hung.. Coleridge inverts the word order from time to time. on mast or shroud (line 75) The fair breeze blew. (lines 141-142) The normal word order would be "was hung about my neck. (lines 143-144) www. (lines 141-142) 'There passed a weary time. the white foam flew (line 103) Inversion ..com | www.icseguess.. the practice of carrying the sense of one line of verse over to the next line without a pause.. as the following lines demonstrate...." The naked hulk alongside came (line 195) The normal word order would be "came alongside.magicsense. and glazed each eye.com Other Educational Portals www.http://www.. the Albatross About my neck was hung.For poetic effect.c om/ And through the drifts the snowy clifts (line 54) The ice did split with a thunder-fit (line 69) In mist or cloud.cbseguess.com | www.niosguess.iitguess. Here are examples: And now the storm-blast came." Enjambment .com | www. (lines 137-138) Instead of the cross.cbseguess.ignouguess.com | www." Through utter drought all dumb we stood! (line 159) The normal word order would be "we stood all dumb.Coleridge occasionally uses enjambment. Instead of the cross... and he Was tyrannous and strong (lines 41-42) We could not speak.com | www. Each throat Was parch'd.

(lines 119-122) Water is everywhere. they stirr'd. And all the boards did shrink . with black lips baked (line 157) Without a breeze.com | www. The poem is rich in figures of speech.com | www. (lines 31-32) The merry minstrelsy (line 36) The furrow followed free (line 104) Anaphora The ice was here. For he heard the loud bassoon. Water.iitguess. the ice was there.com Other Educational Portals www. Nor any drop to drink.ignouguess.magicsense.cbseguess. but there is none to drink. without a tide (line 169) Her lips were red. they all uprose.icseguess. Metaphor Each turned his face with a ghastly pang. every where.com .c om/ Figures of Speech .niosguess. Her locks were yellow as gold: Her skin was as white as leprosy (lines 190-192) They groan'd.dulife.http://www. every where. Here are examples: Alliteration By thy long grey beard and glittering eye (line 3) He holds him with his skinny hand (line 9) The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast. water.com | www. The ice was all around.com | www. water.com | www. Irony Water.cbseguess. her looks were free. And cursed me with his eye. (line 59-60) With throats unslaked. (lines 215-216) Comparison of the appearance of the eye to a curse www.

. and the sea and the sky Lay like a load on my weary eye (lines 251-252) Comparison of the sky and sea to a weight on the eye Her beams bemocked the sultry main.icseguess.. (lines 129-130) Comparison of water to witch's oils Day after day.iitguess...com | www....com | www..dulife.com | www...c om/ They coil'd and swam. Like the whizz of my crossbow! (lines 223-224) Comparison of the passing of a soul to the sound of a shot arrow [T]he sky and the sea.. and on the right Went down into the sea. day after day.cbseguess.com .magicsense. Red as a rose is she (lines 33-34) Comparison of the bride to a rose The water. Out of the sea came he ! And he shone bright.com Other Educational Portals www. Like April hoar-frost spread (lines 268-269) Comparison of reflected sunbeams to frost The bride hath paced into the hall. www.. Burnt green. like a witch's oils. (lines 281-282) Comparison of the wake left by the sea snakes to fire Onomatopoeia It crack'd and growl'd.. (lines 115-118) Comparison of the motionless ship and ocean to paintings Synecdoche The western wave was all a-flame (line 171) Wave refers to the ocean. it passed me by.com | www. nor breath nor motion. and roar'd and howl'd (line 61) Personification The Sun came up upon the left. As idle as a painted ship Upon a painted ocean. (lines 25-28) Comparison of the sun to a person Simile [E]very soul.. and blue and white.http://www.com | www...ignouguess. We stuck.niosguess..cbseguess. and every track Was a flash of golden fire.

seraph (line 491): Member of the highest-ranking order of angels. nether (line 212): Bottom.com .com | www. Hence.iitguess. minstrelsy (line 36): Group of musicians. gramercy (line 164): Expression of thanks or surprise helmsman (line 336): Crewman who steers a ship.http://www. it can also be seen in the air on wings and propellers of aircraft. etc.niosguess. which means to hear the confession of a sinner.8288 meters).com Other Educational Portals www.cbseguess. the Seraphim. line (Coleridge's comments at line 25): Equator. corse (line 349. clomb (line 210): Climbed. such as masts. thorough (line 64): Through. gossameres (line 184): Cobwebs. fathom (line 133): Depth measurement equaling 6 feet (1. Jargoning (line 363): Chattering. swound (line 62): Swoon. during storms.com | www.com | www.magicsense.c om/ Vocabulary Words From the Poem betwixt (line 176): Between. line 156): Changed course. The phenomenon can also be seen on land on trees or towers that rise to a point. now. a charnel-dungeon is an underground place for the dead. clifts (line 55): Cliffs. referring to the cross on which Christ was crucified. shrieve (line 513): Shrive. fainting spell. Today.com | www. twain (line 196): Two.com | www. 489. booms. charnel-dungeon (line 436): A charnel is a place that contains corpses. ropes. dead body. tod (line 536): Bush of ivy or some other plant www. eftsoons (line 12): Immediately. crucifix at the entrance of a chancel.dulife. kirk (line 467): Church. tack'd (tacked.icseguess. chuse (line 18): Choose. the imaginary circle around the earth that divides the Northern and Southern Hemispheres main (line 268): Sea. the space around an altar that is reserved for clergymen or choir members. death-fires (line 128): St. 492): Corpse. ken (line 57): Know. Elmo’s fire. mast (line 30):Tall structure rising from a ship to support sails. shroud (line 75): Ropes or wires connected to a mast on both sides to keep in from swaying sideways skiff (line 524): Small boat propelled with oars. which is electricity discharged from pointed objects. a dungeon is a dark prison beneath a medieval castle. rood (line 490): Old English word for cross. Pilot (line 502): Boatman who guides ships into and out of harbors.cbseguess. singing. at once.ignouguess.

After confessing to the Hermit. and lank.. including the albatross and even sea snakes.Human beings should respect all of God’s creation and all of His creatures. he carries out a penance. (lines 225-228) Coleridge plainly makes the point that beyond the boundaries of the known world are many strange and fearful sights that explorers will encounter. wist means knew.Man is a sinful creature. wist (line 152): Past tense of wit.c om/ wherefore (line 4): why.com | www. We listen'd and look'd sideways up! Fear at my heart. The wedding guest says.. people indicate their respect for the Creator Himself.com | www.http://www. . www. This theme manifests itself as follows: After the ancient mariner commits a sin by killing the albatross..niosguess. he has a change of heart and repents his wrongdoing.iitguess. guilt hounds him in the form of strange natural and supernatural phenomena. but redemption awaits him if he repents his wrongdoing and performs penance... as at a cup.. Respect for Nature . When the mariner sees her rolling dice with death. "I fear thee.ignouguess.com Other Educational Portals www..cbseguess.dulife.com .com | www..cbseguess. which is to travel the world to tell his tale to strangers. farewell! but this I tell To thee.. who loveth well Both man and bird and beast.. and brown..com | www. thou Wedding-Guest! He prayeth well..magicsense. hence. My life-blood seem'd to sip! (lines 204-206) The mariner even frightens the wedding guest when he tells him that all the crewmen fell dead one by one. Farewell..icseguess. meaning know... the narrator says. (lines 611-614) Terror . in particular the female figure known as Life-in-Death. In his parting words to the wedding guest.The mariner undergoes terrifying experiences as he confronts supernatural wonders.. As is the ribbed sea-sand.. Themes Sin and Redemption . During one terrifying experience. In doing so.com | www. ancient Mariner! I fear thy skinny hand! And thou art long. he says..

com Other Educational Portals www. time and again. Now that the Ancient Mariner has committed this mortal sin. Interpretations of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Like most works of literature. it is not a literal hell.c om/ Significance of Killing the Albatross The killing of the albatross is considered to be much greater than a simple sin. In Coleridge’s time.ignouguess. the Ancient Mariner’s slaying of the albatross is equal to Adam and Eve eating the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden. For him. but a figurative hell in which he is forced to confess his sin repeatedly. he is condemned to his own personal purgatory. throughout eternity. One possible interpretation is one of a Christian allegory that symbolizes the fall of man. For Coleridge’s purposes.icseguess.niosguess. As punishment. and for an eternity.com | www. Prepared by: Name Dolly Dhawan Email dolly_dhawan@yahoo.com .http://www. the Ancient Mariner must continue to tell others about the crime that he has committed.dulife.com | www.com | www.com | www.iitguess. such an act would have been considered to be a crime against creation.cbseguess.magicsense. “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is open to interpretation.com www.com | www.cbseguess.

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