Critical Analysis of Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge presents a complex web of themes and symbols within the seemingly simple plot line of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The story of the seafarer with the 'glittering eye' (1.13) and his puzzling tale at sea told to an unwilling listener, the Wedding Guest, unfolds into a multifaceted array of planned sequences, heavy religious undertones, and hints at a biographical account of Coleridge's past. If one reads The Rime of the Ancient Mariner simply as a tale at sea, the poem stands as a remarkable one with its continuous simple rhyme scheme and easy flow of speech. And if one reads deeper into the intricate symbolism, themes and significant subject matter, Coleridge's masterpiece becomes even more brilliant. An…show more content…
Coleridge uses repetition often in the poem as well. The repetition can be seen clearly in the first few stanzas of Part III, where "weary" is used three times in the first stanza, "wist" is repeated (II. 152, 153), "When throats unslaked, with black lips baked" (II.157, 162), and "A sail! a sail!" is cried in line 161. Often, the repetition is used for completion of the line's allotted syllable number, as in the case of "See! see!" in line 167, but other instances Coleridge uses the repetition to add to the effect. The seafarer is completely alone in the beginning of Part IV, and in the third stanza this is expressed by the reiteration of "Alone, alone, all alone" / "Alone on a wide wide sea!' (II.232, 233), which emphasizes the solitary scenery.

The poem has hints of alliteration throughout, often intertwined within the internal rhyme. "Hold off! Unhand me, graybeard loon!' / "Eftsoons his hand dropped he" (II. 11, 12) and "The western wave was all aflame" (1.172) are examples. Furthermore, Coleridge uses these techniques of rhyme, repetition and alliteration to set the pace and the passing of time. "For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky" 91.250) reads slowly, expressing a slowing down of time, as the Mariner's weariness seems to last forever. The rhetoric used is plain statement, as the Mariner is telling his 'true' tale of his trip

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