How Does Coleridge Being Telling the Story in Part 1 of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner?

Topics: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Albatross, Poetry Pages: 3 (956 words) Published: October 12, 2012
How does Coleridge begin telling the story in Part 1?

In the first line of this poem, we meet the protagonist, “The Ancient Mariner”, who manages to get hold of one of the guests to the wedding that he is attending in order to tell him the story of his journey on a “bright” and “cold” day. Against the will of the wedding guest, the Ancient Mariner spends the remainder of Part 1 describing his tale in detail; which eventually leads to the shooting of a magnificent and supposedly good omen of an albatross.

Before the actual narrative of the poem begins, the reader is presented with a Latin epigraph taken from Burnet’s "Archaeologiae Philosophicae" (1692). The main theme taken from this quotation is that one must maintain a balance between acknowledging the imperfect, temporal world, yet also striving to understand the ethereal and ideal world of spirits, ghouls and ghosts in order to reach an eventual understanding of the truth. Coleridge uses this quotation in order to remind the reader to pay attention to the near-constant interactions between the real world and the spiritual world in the poem, and like the Ancient Mariner, the reader must explore and navigate these interactions in order to understand the truth behind the poem.

From the first interaction between the wedding-guest and the Ancient Mariner, the reader is able to get a hold on something more than his unnaturally old appearance, as he is also described to have a “glittering eye”. This disturbs the wedding-guest, who consequently calls him a “grey-beard loon”. However, there is more to his “glittering eye” than initially expected, as he is able to compel the wedding-guest to listen to the tale, he so eagerly wants to expose, like a “three years’ child”. Although the Ancient Mariner clearly takes the form of a human, there are subtle suggestions that he does possess unworldly qualities to him. This unworldly quality is consolidated by the fact that Coleridge chooses to describe him as “it” in...
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