The Ancient Mariner
Through The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Coleridge has created a masterpiece. This epic reworks the ballad form so that it comes alive and speaks to the Romantic Age, breathing a story as strange and delightful, mystical and wonderful as the mystery of life itself. The raw power of the language, the startling speed at which it hurls you along and the arresting questions of the poem fill your spirit with wonder at the operation of nature and the awesome mystery of evil.
There will always be those men whose imaginations transcend the limitations of their time. Coleridge is such a man, with The Ancient Mariner being an imaginatively sharp ballad, in contact with mystery and evil, with the penance and final salvation of the evildoer expressed with beautiful language from which gruesome, awesome and shocking imagery does spring. Through Coleridge we sense an audience that has been starved of the mysterious, the unfathomable grandeur of nature and any explorations of human consciousness.
The Ancient Mariner heralded a new type of literature, one that was in touch the unpredictable and the supernatural world. The mystery of divine providence is explored, similarly the wonder of creation and nature emphasised. For The Ancient Mariner is a manifesto of the Romantic movement, coming at the end of the Classical period in which all faith is put in control, and the harmony that man can bring to the world. Here Coleridge delves into the weird, the strange, just what has been neglected for so long, while at the same time recreating a sense of a past society, using an ancient, ballad form to express perhaps the inexpressible; and he undoubtedly does it as well, and if not then better than even the finest of the a...
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...highlighted, as is the value and goodness of God shown in nature. The prominence of the belief that God reveals himself in nature was common to the Romantic era, and is an emphasis that wasn't found nearly as much in the traditional ballads.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a wonderful ballad, which uses truly beautiful and captivating language to enthral the reader as the enchanting tale of the ancient mariner is worked. A truly brilliant piece of writing, Coleridge does not let us down at the finish, producing a marvellous ending.
' He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn. '
The wedding guest represents us, the readers whose spirits have been held captive by the ballad and now, released, emerge fuller and richer from the experience.