The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, as a product of its culturally inscribed author, presents a confused Unitarian world view consistent with that of the Romantic Movement of its time. It attempts to exemplify this view within an unpredictable and often mysterious universe, and by rebuking the hegemonic ideologies held by the text’s cultural antagonists, seeks to grant the awareness of an often unreasonable world populated by its reader’s passionate persona.
Applying a world-context centred reading to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s, The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere, demands the awareness of the Neo-Classical era’s hegemonic position over the newly flourishing Romantic Movement of late eighteenth century Europe. Inherent in this awareness is the philosophical concern in The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere, with the issue of Neo-Classic determinism versus Romantic free will. These two philosophical perspectives, unique to their own era, are locked in contention throughout the poem and therefore struggle for dominance; as determined by the reader of the text. A resistant reading of The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere explores the concept of determinism, which as an ideology is diametrically opposed to Coleridge’s own beliefs in passionate action and free will; beliefs privileged by the author’s subscription to the Romantic Movement during the text’s construction.
Due to its unique time of construction, The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere itself represents a sense of philosophical uncertainty. Its ideologies, as inspired by a pioneer of the Romantic Movement, are inevitably influenced by the author’s own Neo-Classical background. As a culturally inscribed composer of the text, the idealistically passionate Coleridge is inescapably a construct of his culture, leaving his poem to reside in an uneasy ideological limbo. Such a situation warrants Coleridge the title of visionary, and therefore his poem becomes a vision: a Romantically textual utopia whose realisation was challenged by the rational status quo of its historical origin. Due to this, Coleridge’s work will always seek practical affirmation and will therefore constantly be the source of metaphysically-oriented debate, leaving the dualism that rules it to be decided by the reader and the ideologies he or she brings to the text. This conclusion is supported by the words of John Beer:
“The relationship between the energies of the inquiring mind that an intelligent reader brings to the poem and the poem’s refusal to yield a single comprehensive interpretation enacts vividly the everlasting intercourse between the human mind, with its instinct to organise and harmonise, and the baffling powers of the universe about it.”
Coleridge stated that poetry “gives us most pleasure when only generally and not perfectly understood”. ...