Published on January 10, 2009
Slide 2: Many critics see the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ as an allegory of some kind of fall, like…… Of Coleridge - Of Lucifer - Of Adam - …forbidden fruit? …cast into hell? …opium? “…the very deep did rot…” “…slimy things … Slimy sea” “I shot the albatross” “…and I had done a hellish thing…” “witch’s oils, / … burnt green, and blue and white” Phantasmagoria! STRUCTURE: Sin, Punishment, Redemption… Milton Parallels? (Paradise Lost) Shelley’s Interpretation? (Frankenstein) Cain? Slide 3: “poetry gives most pleasure when only generally and not perfectly understood" - Coleridge Many critics maintain, as Christopher Lamb does, that the ‘Ancient Mariner’ is a work of complete and pure imagination. As… No single interpretation seems to fit the entire poem… In essence, it is a very imaginative and unusual piece… Purely inspirational? Dark gothic? “cursed me with his eye” “Life-in-death” “spectre bark” Gustav Doré’s Dark Etches… Slide 4: Coleridge felt a deep sense of sin, for his opium addiction and otherwise. The poem could be his way of fathoming his feelings. The “strange power” of the Ancient Mariner, as his difficult feelings. “mingled strangely with my fears” “I know that man … must hear me” / “To him my tale I teach” Hence, his sensitivity and saying that the poem should not be analysed…? (“poetry gives most pleasure when only generally and not perfectly understood“) Just as the Ancient Mariner has to re-tell his tale, Coleridge has to keep on returning to this poem and revising it… Slide 5: “Instead of the cross, the Albatross/ About my neck was hung” “I had killed the bird / That made the breeze to blow” “Hailed it in God’s name” “Christian soul” “Crimson red like Gods own head” - “Hid in mist” - “dungeon-grate” “blessed them unawares” A Christian Parable About Respect? Crew distanced from God Slide 6: Science Spirituality Vs. Some critics maintain that this ballad was an exploration, by Coleridge, into the science vs. spirituality debate: There are many mysterious fantastical images, ? the “glittering eye” with its “strange power” ? the “polar spirits” and “seraph band” The latin preface says, “Human cleverness has always sought knowledge of these things, never attained it”. He was at a point in his life where he was more concerned with the rational than the empirical, this poem was an exploration of the former. Slide 7: THE END.