Ancient Mariner Part I

Ancient Mariner

  • Upload

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


Ancient Mariner. Part I. Latin Epigraph. Latin Epigraph of Ancient Mariner Ep"i *graph (?), n. 1. Any inscription set upon a building; especially, one which has to do with the building itself, its founding or dedication. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Citation preview

Page 1: Ancient Mariner

Ancient Mariner

Part I

Page 2: Ancient Mariner

Latin EpigraphLatin Epigraph of Ancient MarinerEp"i*graph (?), n. 1. Any inscription set upon a building; especially, one which has to do with the building itself, its founding or dedication.2. Literature :A citation from some author, or a sentence framed for the purpose, placed at the beginning of a work or of its separate divisions; a motto.

I easily believe that in the universe the invisible Natures are more numerous than the visible ones. But who will clarify for us the family of all these natures, the ranks and relationships and criteria and functions of each of them? What do they do? In what places do they dwell? The human mind has always searched for the knowledge of these matters but has never acquired it. Meanwhile, I do not deny that it is from time to time useful mentally to picture in the mind, as on a tablet, the image of a larger and better world, so that our minds, preoccupied with trivial matters of everyday life, does not shrink excessively and subside entirely into petty ideas. We must however be careful about the truth and keep a sense of proportion, so that we may discriminate between the certain and uncertain, day from night. Thomas Burnet, Archaeologiae philosophicae

Page 3: Ancient Mariner

First StanzaIt is an ancient Mariner, AAnd he stoppeth one of three. B“By thy long grey beard and glittering eye, CNow wherefore stoppest thou me? D

Corresponding Gloss:An ancient Marinermeeteth three gallantsbidden to a weddingfeast, and detainethOne.

• Why one of three? Why not get three for the price of one? Is there something special about the one?

• The Wedding Guest is the speaker within the third person narration.

• Appearance/Imager: Long beard, glittering eye. Something mystic and creepy about this guy.

Page 4: Ancient Mariner
Page 5: Ancient Mariner

Stanzas 2 & 3“The Bridegroom's doors are opened wide,(5)And I am next of kin;The guests are met, the feast is set:May'st hear the merry din.”

He holds him with his skinny hand,“There was a ship,” quoth he.(10)“Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!”Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

What’s the best part of a wedding? The reception. Get the hell out of my way. I’m family and I want to party!

Internal Rhyme is often found in the third line of conventional stanzas.

Mariner attempts to begin tale. His physical “hold” has no effect. His power is ocular.

Diction: the meaning of the word “loon” has changed since this time. Ironically, both the old and new meaning work.

Archaic Language: “Eftsoons” was an antiquated word for “immediately”. Coleridge endured some criticism for the use of such words, and he vacillated on their inclusion from edition to edition. He tended to restore them in later editions.

Page 6: Ancient Mariner

Stanzas 4, 5, & 6

He holds him with his glittering eye—The Wedding-Guest stood still,And listens like a three years child: (15)The Mariner hath his will.(Gloss: The Wedding-Guest isspell-bound by the eyeof the old seafaringman, and constrainedto hear his tale.)

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:He cannot choose but hear;And thus spake on that ancient man,The bright-eyed Mariner.

The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared, (20)Merrily did we dropBelow the kirk, below the hill,Below the light-house top.

• ALLITERATION draws attention to line 13.• The Mariner’s “glittering eye” is given emphasis, and sight is

a key sense throughout the poem.

• Free will, or absence thereof, is a significant motif throughout the poem. Two times in this sequence we are told the Wedding-Guest is no longer exercising choice. It is IRONIC that the Mariner has the power to take someone’s free will, as he evidently does not have control over his OWN will.

• We wonder WHOSE agency his power comes from. God?

• The Mariner’s story (a flashback to many years ago when he was a young man) begins.

• The tone of this stanza suggests hope and optimism. It hardly foreshadows what is to come. “merrily” & “cheered” A stark contrast to the tone of the boat’s return which will reverse the sequence of this scene of this departure.

• The “kirk” is a church. The ship and its crew bid farewell to the rules of institutional religion in favor of a world governed by mysterious forces.

• Asyndeton is used to depict the boat’s departure.• Repetition of the word “below” signals the boat’s relation to

these things in the harbor.• The crew will “drop” much less merrily in the future.

Page 7: Ancient Mariner
Page 8: Ancient Mariner

Stanza 7 & 8

The Sun came up upon the left,Out of the sea came he!(25)And he shone bright, and on the rightWent down into the sea.(Gloss: The Mariner tells howthe ship sailed southwardwith a good windand fair weather, till itreached the Line.)

Higher and higher every day,Till over the mast at noon—The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,(30)For he heard the loud bassoon.

• These stanzas signal ORIENTATION and the PASSAGE of TIME.

• The SUN is a reoccurring symbol in the poem, but it does not always signify the same things. It is also PERSONIFIED favorably.

• The journey is clearly heading SOUTH even without the help of the gloss. The conditions are favorable.

• The LINE suggest the equator.

• The sun literally gets higher each day as the vessel approaches the equator. The first leg of this journey is without incident.

• Line 30 signals an awkward return to the present of the story. The wedding guest is conscious that he is missing the party and is outraged by it. Nonetheless, he is powerless in the Mariner’s grip. The story in and of itself is not sustaining his interest at this point.

Page 9: Ancient Mariner

Stanzas 9 & 10

The bride hath paced into the hall,Red as a rose is she;Nodding their heads before her goesThe merry minstrelsy.(35)(Gloss: The Wedding-Guest heareth thebridal music; but theMariner continueth his tale.)

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,Yet he cannot choose but hear;And thus spake on that ancient man,The bright-eyed Mariner.

• The SIMILE that describes the bride serves as a juxtaposition to the description of Death’s whore later in the poem. This simile was used frequently in old ballads. One of Coleridge’s stated goes was to model an Old English ballad.

• The wedding feast also contrasts the experience the Mariner is relating to the wedding guest.

• A straight repetition reinforces the guest’s frustration and absence of free will.

• The Mariner’s eye is again evoked.

Page 10: Ancient Mariner

Stanzas 11, 12, 13

And now the STORM-BLAST came, and heWas tyrannous and strong:He struck with his o'ertaking wings,And chased south along.

With sloping masts and dipping prow,As who pursued with yell and blow (45)Still treads the shadow of his foeAnd forward bends his head,The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,And southward aye we fled.

And now there came both mist and snow, (50)And it grew wondrous cold:And ice, mast-high, came floating by,As green as emerald.

• A precipitous change in the conditions in nature and tone. This event may FORESHADOW far worse conditions to come.

• The STORM-BLAST is PERSONIFIED. An aggressive and hostile bird is depicted. This contrasts the gentleness and innocence of the albatross that is to come.

• The first IRREGULAR stanza sets up the adversarial relationship between the storm and the boat (predator/prey). The boat narrowly escapes. It will not be so fortunate next time.

• Another seemingly radical shift in descriptive IMAGERY and TONE informs the reader just how far this journey has come. They are approaching the south pole region.

• The IMAGERY associated with the region/ice is more mystical than harmful. It is the first touch of GOTHIC IMAGERY.

Page 11: Ancient Mariner

Stanzas 14, 15, 16

And through the drifts the snowy cliftsDid send a dismal sheen:(55)Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken—The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there,The ice was all around:It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,(60)Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an Albatross:Thorough the fog it came;As if it had been a Christian soul,We hailed it in God's name. (65)

• More IMAGERY depicting the ICE. The word “dismal” is the first that suggests a pejorative meaning. There is no visible life in this region which will make the albatross’s arrival all the more conspicuous.

• A REPETITION that both reinforces the presence of the ice and also stylistically anticipates a later line that illustrates how the Mariner is surrounded by water that he ironically cannot drink.

• The ice is frightening, but as GOTHIC as this depiction seems, it would literally make these sounds. Coleridge often has some basis in reality even in his most fantastical descriptions.

• “Swound” is for sure a portmanteau word. It may fuse many words, such as sound, wound, wind, and swoon.

• Finally, our focal subject emerges. Once again, PERSONIFICATION is employed and a SIMILE reinforces its nature. It is unmistakably good from this depiction and the sailors recognize it as such. This will heighten the nature of the crew’s sin later.

• We might wonder what kind of Albatross is depicted here and elsewhere. That is a matter for speculation.

Page 12: Ancient Mariner
Page 13: Ancient Mariner

Stanzas 17 & 18

It ate the food it ne'er had eat,And round and round it flew.The ice did split with a thunder-fit;The helmsman steered us through!

And a good south wind sprung up behind,(70)The Albatross did follow,And every day, for food or play,Came to the mariners' hollo!

(Gloss: And lo! the Albatrossproveth a bird of goodomen, and followeththe ship as it returnednorthward through fogand floating ice.)

• The crew is feeding the bird (it has never sampled human food, perhaps an indication of the remoteness of the boat’s present location.) And yet, it trusts the men. They likely see the bird as a favorable omen in the starkly contrasted menace of the ice. It may be the talisman that gets them through.

• INTERNAL RHYME emphasizes the violence of the ice.

• Conditions have improved. The bird would be associated with that.

• Heightening the IRONY of his inexplicable action to come, the Mariner has specifically developed a relationship with the bird, which seems to have become tame to him.

• As it often does, the gloss overstates the obvious. Coleridge vacillated about its inclusion through various versions of the poem. In the final version, he retained most of it. We do get one important piece of info…the boat has reached its southernmost point and is now travelling north.

Page 14: Ancient Mariner
Page 15: Ancient Mariner
Page 16: Ancient Mariner

Stanzas 19 & 20

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,It perched for vespers nine;(75)Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,Glimmered the white Moon-shine.

“God save thee, ancient Mariner!From the fiends, that plague thee thus!—Why look'st thou so?”—With my cross-bow(80)I shot the Albatross.

(Gloss: The ancientMariner inhospitablykilleth the piousbird of good omen.)

• “Vespers” alludes to a Catholic/Anglican prayer service held in the evening. Coupled with “nine”, it suggests the bird has been with the vessel for 9 evenings.

• Visibility remains low, and the bird seems to provide the boat with safe passage.

• REPETITION: “White” is a safe, or at least neutral color. In this case, the white fog competes with the white moon-shine.

• An eruption from the Wedding Guest startles the reader. Apparently, the Mariner’s visage has become disturbing as he recounts his tale. From the Wedding Guest’s outburst, we discern that to this day the Mariner is haunted/plagued by his action.

• Talk about action without provocation! There is nothing to suggest WHY the Mariner would shoot the bird. Neither is it ever. Still, it is an action on which the remainder of the poem hinges. The end of every subsequent scene will make some direct reference back to this action.

Page 17: Ancient Mariner