Ancient Mariner

Ancient Mariner
Part 2
Stanzas 1-2
The Sun now rose upon the right:
(83) A
Out of the sea came he, B
Still hid in mist, and on the left C
Went down into the sea. B
And the good south wind still blew
behind, (87)
Personification of sun conveys
a greater power with control.
The sun (a recurring symbol) is
presented in a less positive light
here:it is hidden in the mist, not
shining "bright."
The sky is misty and foggy, not
Passage of time and direction
But no sweet bird did follow,
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the mariners’ hollo!
(Mostly quatrain structure, with some
The wind is blowing behind them
but no bird, MOOD is timidly
optimistic but somewhat
Repetition and parallel
structure from part 1:
emphasizes significance of bird's
Stanza 3
And I had done an hellish thing (,91)
And it would work ’em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
That made the breeze to blow!
Gloss: His shipmates cry out against the ancient
Mariner, for killing the bird of good luck.
Deviation from quatrain structure:
emphasizes the realization of the
gravity of his sin.
Stanza 4
Simile: the sun comes up like God's
Nor dim nor red, like God’s own head(97)
head; it is not "dim" or scary and
The glorious Sun uprist:
"red" but "glorious"
Then all averred, I had killed the bird
Shows connection between God
That brought the fog and mist.
(greater power) and the Sun
’Twas right, said they, such birds to slay, Repetition/Parallel Structure to
That bring the fog and mist.
previous stanza. The men once
Gloss: But when the fog cleared off, they justify
the same, and thus make themselves accomplices in the
Deviation from quatrain structure:
emphasizes the culpability of the crew
along with Mariner.
again come to an agreement about
the killing of the bird.
Juxtaposition: Unlike before, the men
now think the Albatross had been a
bad omen and the Mariner was right
for killing it.
Significance of their indecision: the
men make decisions based on their
self-interest and the weather; they
do not care about the Albatross or
the morals. They go so far as
saying it's right to kill more birds.
Stanzas 5-6
The fair breeze blew, the white foam
flew, 103
The furrow followed free; *We were
the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.
Down dropt the breeze, the sails
dropt down, 107
’Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break *
The silence of the sea!
GLOSS:The fair breeze continues; the ship
enters the Pacific Ocean, and sails
northward, even till it reaches the Line.
The ship hath been suddenly becalmed.
The ship sails towards North with the help of
favorable breezes.
The TONE of this stanza is optimistic, a sharp
contrast from that of the next.
Asyndeton and alliteration, and internal rhyme
contribute to positive feeling. Imagery of the
environment depicts a new beginning and
shows that the crew has momentarily moved
on from the albatross's murder and is ready
for the journey northward.
The MOOD, emphasized by the chiasmus in line
107, sharply shifts to one of depression and
hopelessness. The imagery of the breeze
and sails falling "down" depicts this shift. The
"silence" is juxtaposed against the
boisterous, active atmosphere evident in the
5th stanza.
The first gloss clarifies that the ship is sailing
northward towards the equator. The second
stanza's gloss gives a sense of foreboding
with it's matter-of-fact TONE and simple
Stanzas 7-8
All in a hot and copper sky, 111
The bloody Sun, at noon, *
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.
Day after day, day after day, 115 ¤
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship ¤
Upon a painted ocean.
The Sun at this point has come directly above
the ship, creating unfavorable conditions. It
subsequently causes the crew to suffer from
severe dehydration. Imagery in lin lines 11
and 113 depict the changed environment,
while personification of the Sun shows its
The sun generally possesses negative
connotations throughout the poem, and may
be used as a symbol of a mean God that
inflicts punishment. The moon contrastingly
represents a kind god. Unfortunate events
occur during the daytime.
Repetition in line 115 lends to a
hopelessTONE, gives reader a sense of
how much time has passed.
The simile comparing the ship to a painting
demonstratesits still. almost suffocating
Stanzas 9-10
Water, water, everywhere (119)
repetition of "water, water, everywhere"
And all the boards did shrink;
emphasize irony in being unable to drink
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
reference to Tantalus
usually water serves to purify but in this case it
is an overwhelming/destructive force of
Gloss: And the Albatross begins to be avenged.
The very deep did rot: O Christ!
Cries of despair to God; prayer in time of
That ever this should be!
imagery of death and decay
Yea slimy things did crawl with
Visceral imagery and personification of slimy
things that crawl
Upon the slimy sea
ship is being corrupted by evil forces from the
depths of the ocean
Stanzas 11-12
About, about in reel and rout (127)
supernatural forces overcome the ship
The death fires danced at night;
personification of death fires
The water, like a witch's oils
Burnt green, and blue and white.
And some in dreams assured were
Of the spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed
imagery of death again
immiscible qualities of oil and water emphasize
alien and supernatural quality of their
haunts the ship mates in their dreams; only way
to grasp these horrors is through dream and
comes from the depths of the ocean where evil
From the land of mist and snow.
Gloss: A spirit had followed them; one of the invisible
inhabitants of this planet , neither departed souls
nor angels; concerning whom the learned Jew
Josephus, and the Platonic Constantinopolitan,
Michael Psellus, may be consulted. They are very
numerous, and there is no climate or element
without one or more.
reference to writers of demons and supernatural
Stanza 13
And every tongue, through utter
drought, (135)
Was withered at the root;
Crew members are suffering from
thirst and blaming the mariner for
their pain
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.
Drought: (archaic) thirst
Figurative language/imagery: men
dried up from thirst like dying
Figurative language/analogy to
being choked with soot
emphasizes agony
Stanza 14
Ah! well a-day! what evil looks (139)
"well-a-day:" (archaic) variant of
wellaway, used to express
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.
Gloss: The shipmates, in their sore distress,
would fain throw the whole guilt on the
ancient Mariner: in sign whereof they hang
the dead sea-bird round his neck.
The lack of communication between
the crew and the individual
condemnation of the Mariner
emphasize the gothic element of
(psychological) isolation
Significance of dead Albatross taking
the place of cross: guilt and curse
replaces faith in God and
He didn't have a choice - forced into
a life of penance. The TONE is
sorrowful, lonesome, powerless.
Part II
In this section of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a great transition
takes place as the curse of killing the Albatross falls onto the shipmates.
The tone quickly shifts from optimism, as the forces of nature aid the
shipmates in their journey north, to a tone of despair as nature turns on
them and the supernatural forces of evil, brought on by the killing of the
Albatross, devour the ship. This is only the beginning of the Ancient
Mariner’s endless torment as he journeys forth with his terrible tale of woe.
Evidenced by their accusatory looks, the shipmates blame the Mariner for
bringing such physical agony into their existence, and he is forced to literally
bear the weight of a sin that never ceases to torment him throughout the
rest of his long life. This section communicates the powerlessness of the
crew and especially the Ancient Mariner as a result of killing an innocent
creature of God. Forces much greater than the men -- mainly the physical
world, the supernatural, and God -- solidify their transition into cursed
souls. .

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