Analysis Of The Poem ' The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner '

948 WordsFeb 18, 20164 Pages
Poetry from the Victorian Era shifted its focus from the Romantic ideals of nature and imagination to the political and social concerns of an increasingly industrialized nation. As an art form, poetry allowed for critical response to issues that plagued a specific moment in time. Robert Southey 's poem, “The Sailor Who Had Served in the Slave Trade”, presents an important reflection on the cruelty of the slave trade and appoints Christian values as a means towards redemption. Southey 's poem seems to have been inspired by Samuel T Coleridge 's “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, however, his focus in the poem shifts away from vivid imagery into a thought provoking tale of the Middle Passage. The poem focuses on two men. One man is called the Stranger and the other is named the Sailor. Southey utilizes capitalization in order to distinguish the two as name identifiers. The Stranger is meant to act much like the reading audience, absorbing the horrifying story of the Sailor who 's tormented by his involvement in the slave trade. It 's interesting that Southey presents the story through the Sailor and not from the experience of a slave. Perhaps Southey intentionally set out to draw in a larger audience by providing a unique perspective from someone who worked in the slave trade. By not giving the Stranger a formal identity, Southey allows the reader to be placed in his shoes, becoming a bystander to the slave trade. This is purposeful because Southey is essentially claiming
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