THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER

Context

Context

Lyrical Ballads- William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge set out in 1797 to write a new kind of poetry. They set out to write, ‘the real language of men in a state of vivid sensation, that sort of pleasure and that quantity of pleasure may be imparted, which a Poet may rationally endeavour to impart.’ Most of the poems deal with pastoral scenes and natural scenery and man’s place in it.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was not going to be included in the ballads because it did not fit in with this manifesto. The poem was supernatural and wholly imagined as opposed to the rustic themes Wordsworth had envisaged and it was written in archaic language rather than the language of the common, modern man.

The Sublime- If something is sublime it creates a feeling of astonishment, awe or even terror. Usually the sublime is applied to things that give an impression of infinity such as the ocean, silence, darkness or any vast structures, whether natural or unnatural.

It can describe an almost religious experience because the vastness or infinity can provoke feelings of something greater or remind you of the enormity and infinity of god. It was applied particularly to nature but some adapted the idea to architectural design and the Gothic style of building was meant to evoke similar feelings.

Charles Lamb wrote to Wordsworth to praise the Ancient Mariner saying, ‘the feelings of the man under the operation of such scenery dragged me along,’ showing how the Sublime aspects of the poem were successful and therefore, though unconventional, the poem does fit into the Romantic vein.

The Wandering Jew-Because he taunted Jesus on the cross at the crucifixion, the Wandering Jew is forced to walk the earth for all eternity until the day of judgement comes. His thoughtlessness and disrespect can be linked the Mariner’s attitude to the albatross and his fate after killing it.

The Gothic- The genre was around at the same time as the Romantic movement and came out of similar ideas. It explored the extremes of scientific discovery and exploration and made links between the unknown in science and the supernatural. It was very much linked to the Romantic idea of the Sublime too as it dealt with terror and extreme emotion caused by the supernatural. Many of the literature was set in vast natural landscapes, gothic buildings and far off, unknown countries full of mystery.