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A Biographical Analysis Of "The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner"

1874 words - 8 pages

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is a somewhat lengthy poem concerning the paranormal activities of a sea mariner and his crew. The work was constructed to be the beginning piece in Lyrical Ballads, a two-volume set written by William Wordsworth and Coleridge. Wordsworth intended to, in his volume, make the ordinary seem extraordinary, while Coleridge aimed to make the extraordinary ordinary. "The Rime" was first published in 1798. Despite the current popularity of the piece, it was harshly criticized upon being first published. One of "The Rime's" toughest opponents was Wordsworth himself, who claimed that the poem had "neither characterization nor proper ...view middle of the document...

In the poem, the death of the albatross is an event that can be directly correlated to Coleridge's life, particularly in the death of his father. Samuel was born on October 21, 1772, and was the youngest among his ten siblings (Fry, 3). At age six, he began attending King's School, where his father happened to be the headmaster (Fry, 3). Coleridge's father, Reverend John Coleridge, died three years later (Fry, 3). After the death, an undereducated and inadequate gentleman replaced Samuel's father as headmaster (Fry, 3). As a result of this, Coleridge was forced to move to London to pursue his education at Christ's Hospital (Fry, 3). The death and resulting move was very damaging to Samuel, who was only nine at the time.The death of the albatross is quite similar from the standpoint that it was the event that gave rise to the Mariner's problems. The Mariner killed the bird in order to support the crew in their time of great hunger and thirst (Coleridge, 32). The death of the bird was at first followed by good luck. The fog and frost that had once consumed the seas around the Mariner and his crew is replaced by good weather (Coleridge, 34). This break in treacherous conditions is only temporary, though. Upon arriving in the Pacific, the wind ceases to blow and the ship stops (Coleridge, 34). A horrific drought ensues and ravishes the entire crew (Coleridge, 34). The deaths of the albatross and of Coleridge's father were events that led to unpleasant occurrences for both men.When the bird of great piety is killed, the Mariner is forced to undergo isolation from what he viewed as being familiar. In the poem, the mariner's slaying of the albatross brings about a terrible drought and eventually a ship, which contains the figures of Death and Life-In-Death (Coleridge, 38-42). The two ghostly figures are playing dice for the lives of the crewmembers (Coleridge, 42). Death wins every life except for that of the Mariner (Coleridge, 42). As a result of this, the Mariner is forced to watch idly as everyone around him dies. To make matters worse, all of the two hundred crewmembers expire with their eyes fixed on the Mariner (Coleridge, 48). The mariner will continue to travel the seas with a dead and eventually living-dead crew.This occurrence, while not as dramatic, is also evident in Coleridge's life. As a result of his father's death, Samuel is forced to travel to London to attend school. While in London, he was isolated from his remaining family and all that he new to be familiar. Samuel had to basically start fresh and build a whole new life for himself in a totally different environment. This was all forced on a young Coleridge, who was only nine years of age. Both character's isolation causes them to undergo drastic changes in their mentalities and lifestyles.The main resemblance between the two characters is their wandering characteristics, and becomes evident during the middle years of Coleridge's life. Samuel was known to frequently travel from...

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