Author Topic: Summary : The Rime of The Ancient Mariner  (Read 2456 times)

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Offline gauravc

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Summary : The Rime of The Ancient Mariner
« on: December 01, 2012, 09:36:39 pm »
Part 1

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In the poem's first line, we meet its protagonist, "an ancient Mariner." He stops one of three people on their way to a wedding celebration. The leader of the group, the wedding guest, tries to resist being stopped by the strange old man with the "long grey beard and glittering eye." He explains that he is on his way to enjoy the wedding merriment; he is the closest living relative to the groom, and the festivities have already begun. Still, the ancient mariner takes his hand and begins his story. The Wedding Guest has no choice but to sit down on a rock to listen.
]The Ancient Mariner explains that one clear and bright day, he set out sail on a ship full of happy seamen. They sailed along smoothly until they reached the equator. Suddenly, the sounds of the wedding interrupt the Ancient Mariner's story. The Wedding Guest beats his chest impatiently as the blushing bride enters the reception hall and music plays. However, he is compelled to continue listening to the Ancient Mariner, who goes on with his tale. As soon as the ship reached the equator, a terrible storm hit and forced the ship southwards. The wind blew with such force that the ship pitched down in the surf as though it were fleeing an enemy. Then the sailors reached a calm patch of sea that was "wondrous cold", full of snow and glistening green icebergs as tall as the ship's mast. The sailors were the only living things in this frightening, enclosed world where the ice made terrible groaning sounds that echoed all around. Finally, an Albatross emerged from the mist, and the sailors revered it as a sign of good luck, as though it were a "Christian soul" sent by God to save them. No sooner than the sailors fed the Albatross did the ice break apart, allowing the captain to steer out of the freezing world. The wind picked up again, and continued for nine days. All the while, the Albatross followed the ship, ate the food the sailors gave it, and played with them. At this point, the Wedding Guest notices that the Ancient Mariner looks at once grave and crazed. He exclaims: "God save thee, ancient Mariner! / From the fiends that plague thee thus!- / Why lookst thou so?" The Ancient Mariner responds that he shot the Albatross with his crossbow.
analysis
In editions where it is included, the Latin epigraph serves as a semi-thesis for the poem. It is a Latin quote from Burnet's "Archaeologiae Philosophicae" (1692), which Coleridge translates as follows:
I readily believe that there are more invisible than visible Natures in the universe. But who will explain for us the family of all these beings, and the ranks and relations and distinguishing features and functions of each? What do they do? What places do they inhabit? The human mind has always sought the knowledge of these things, but never attained it. Meanwhile I do not deny that it is helpful sometimes to contemplate in the mind, as on a tablet, the image of a greater and better world, lest the intellect, habituated to the petty things of daily life, narrow itself and sink wholly into trivial thoughts. But at the same time we must be watchful for the truth and keep a sense of proportion, so that we may distinguish the certain from the uncertain, day from night.
Burnet, who authored the original quote, begins by acknowledging that "invisible natures" such as spirits, ghosts, and angels exist; moreover, there are more of them than their readily-perceivable counterparts such as humans and animals. However, "invisible natures" are difficult to classify, because people perceive them only occasionally. Burnet asserts that while it is important to strive to understand the ethereal and ideal, one must stay grounded in the temporal, imperfect world. By maintaining a balance between these two worlds, one avoids becoming too idealistic or too hopeless, and can eventually reach the truth. By prefacing "the rime of the ancient mariner" with this quote, Coleridge asks the reader to pay careful attention to the near-constant interactions between the spiritual and temporal worlds in the poem. Like the Ancient Mariner, the reader must navigate these interactions and worlds in order to understand the truth ingrained in the poem. The Ancient Mariner as a character can be identified with a number of archetypes: the wise man, the writer, the traitor, and more. The epigraph suggests that regardless of with whom the reader associates the Ancient Mariner, there is great importance in the way in which he manages (or fails) to balance the spiritual and temporal worlds.
[size=0pt]From the Ancient Mariner's first interaction with the Wedding Guest, we know there is more to him than the fact that he appears unnaturally old. He has a "glittering eye" that immediately unnerves the Wedding Guest, who presumes he is mad and calls him a "grey-beard loon." Yet there is more to his "glittering eye" than mere madness, as he is able to compel the Wedding Guest to listen to his story with the fascination of a three-year-old child. Although he is clearly human, the Ancient Mariner seems to have a touch of the otherworldly in him.Throughout Part 1, the temporal world interjects itself into the storytelling haze in which the Ancient Mariner captures the Wedding Guest and reader. For example, just as the Ancient Mariner begins his tale, the joyful sound of a bassoon at the wedding reception distracts the Wedding Guest. He "beathis breast" in frustration that he is missing the festivities. In light of Burnet's quote, one can say that the temporal world with its "petty" pleasures tempts the Wedding Guest. He is of that world - indeed he is next of kin to the bridegroom and therefore intimate with the festival's worldly joy. Meanwhile, the Ancient Mariner cannot enjoy the temporal world because he is condemned to perpetually relive the story of his past.
In the Ancient Mariner's story itself, the spiritual and temporal worlds are confounded the moment the sailors cross the equator. Suddenly the natural world - which is closely connected to the spiritual world - makes the sailors lose control of their course. The storm drives them into an icy world that is called "the land of mist and snow" throughout the rest of the poem. The word "rime" can mean "ice", and can also be interpreted as an alternate spelling of the word "rhyme." Therefore, as much as the poem is the rhymed story of the Ancient Mariner, it is also the tale of the "land of mist and snow": the "rime", where the Ancient Mariner's troubles begin. By calling the poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," Coleridge equates the "rhyme" or tale with the actual "rime" or icy world. As we learn at the story's end, the Ancient Mariner is condemned to feel perpetual pangs of terror that force him to tell his "rhyme," a fate just as confining and terrifying as the "rime" itself is initially for the sailors.

Part2
 
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The ship sailed northward into the Pacific Ocean, and although the sun shone during the day and the wind remained strong, the mist held fast. The other sailors were angry with the ancient mariner for killing the Albatros, which they believed had saved them from the icy world by summoning the wind: "Ah wretch! Said they, the bird to slay / That made the breeze to blow!" Then the mist disappeared and the sun shone particularly brightly, "like God's own head." The sailors suddenly changed their opinion. They decided that the Albatross must have brought the must, and praise the Ancient Mariner for having killed it and rid them of the mist: "Twas right, said they, such birds to slay, / That bring the fog and mist."

The ship sailed along merrily until it entered an uncharted part of the ocean, and the wind disappeared. The ship could not move, and sat "As idle as a painted ship / Upon a painted ocean." Then the sun became unbearably hot just as the sailors ran out of water, leading up to the most famous lines in the poem: "Water, water, every where, / And all the boards did shrink; / Water, water, every where, / Nor any drop to drink." The ocean became a horrifying place; the water churned with "slimy" creatures, and at night, eerie fires seemed to burn on the ocean's surface. Some of the sailors dreamed that an evil spirit had followed them from the icy world, and they all suffered from a thirst so terrible that they could not speak. To brand the Ancient Mariner for his crime and place the guilt on him and him alone, the sailors hung the Albatross's dead carcass around his neck.

Coleridge introduces the idea of responsibility in Part 2. The sailors have an urge to pin whatever happens to them on the Ancient Mariner, since he killed the Albatross for no good reason. It seems more important to them to make him claim responsibility for their fate than what their fate actually is; first, they curse him for making the wind disappear, and then they praise him for making the mist disappear. Coleridge may be poking fun at allegory in this section. He told reviewers after the poem's release that he did not intend for it to have a moral, even though when reading the poem, one is hard-pressed not to discern a moral message. By having the sailors switch from blame to praise and back to blame again, Coleridge mocks those quick to judge. To go back to the preface, the sailors represent those too eager to discern the "certain" from the "uncertain", preferring to see things in black-and-white terms.
The major theme of liminality emerges more fully in Part 2. In literature - and especially Romantic literature - a liminal space is where plot twists occur or things begin to go awry. The Romantic hero, although he begins confident and with a clear mission, stumbles into a bewildering space where he struggles, and from which he emerges wizened and saddened. Traditionally these places are borderlines, such as the edge of a forest or a shoreline. Recall from Part 1 that the ship's course is sunny and smooth until it crosses the equator and the storm begins. The equator is the boundary between the earth's hemispheres, and is therefore an extreme example of a liminal space. The icy world or "rime" itself is also a compelling liminal space. At first it seems to be the epitome of the temporal; there are no visible creatures there besides the sailors, whose senses it assaults with huge icy forms, terrifying sounds, and bewildering echoes. But it is equally a spiritual place, the dwelling of a very powerful spirit who wreaks havoc on the sailors to punish the Ancient Mariner for killing its beloved Albatross. The icy world represents a tenuous balance between the temporal and spiritual. The physicality of the icy world represents its tenuousness; in it, water exists in all its three phases: ice, water, and mist. The boundaries between the temporal and the spiritual, what Burnet calls the "certain and uncertain" in the epigraph, are as indistinct there as the physical state of water. It is not necessarily the loudness, coldness, or desolateness of the icy world that makes it so terrifying. Rather, it is the fact that nothing there is easily definable. In light of the epigraph, it represents the balance that one must seek between the "certain and uncertain," which will ultimately lead to the truth. However, the icy world as a symbol suggests that this path to enlightenment is equally fascinating and terrifying.[/size]
[size=0pt]The most famous lines in "ancient mariner " are unquestionably: "Water, water, every where, / Nor any drop to drink." The sailors are punished for the Ancient Mariner's mistake with deprivation made worse by the fact that what they need so badly - water - is all around them, but is entirely undrinkable. Since the poem's publication, these lines have come into common usage to refer to situations in which one is surrounded by the thing one desires, but is denied it nevertheless.
In light of the epigraph, the Ancient Mariner shoots the Albatross because he, like humans throughout time, wants to learn about the spiritual world. The Albatross is an animal, but it is akin to a spirit, and its murder wreaks spiritual havoc on the sailors. We are given no reason why the Ancient Mariner shoots the Albatross, and he does so without premeditation. It is as though he needs to bring the beauty of the spiritual world (embodied in the Albatross) down to the temporal world in order to understand it. He takes the bird out of the air and onto the deck, where it proves to be mortal indeed. After that, the spiritual world begins to punish the Ancient Mariner and the other sailors by making all elements of the temporal world painful. They are thirsty and sunburned, cannot sail for lack of wind, and are threatened by creatures and strange lights in the water. The sailors add to the Ancient Mariner's physical punishment when they hang the Albatross around his neck, giving him a physical burden to remind him of the spiritual burden of sin he carries. They too punish him physically for his spiritual depravity.[/size]

« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 01:14:26 am by Aaruni Kaushik »

Jaka

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Re: Summary : The Rime of The Ancient Mariner
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2012, 01:03:16 am »
That is pretty huge for a summarry

Offline Anjali Rani

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Re: Summary : The Rime of The Ancient Mariner
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2012, 12:32:01 pm »
 :pray:
praying,ma'am doesn't have gaurav's idea of a summary.................

Offline Aaruni Kaushik

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Re: Summary : The Rime of The Ancient Mariner
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2012, 12:56:32 pm »
Same here..
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 04:43:45 pm by Aaruni Kaushik »
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Offline Anjali Rani

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Re: Summary : The Rime of The Ancient Mariner
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2012, 05:00:08 pm »
also,gaurav,i doubt you wrote all this on your own.........
if you did not then please post the source

Offline Anjali Rani

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Re: Summary : The Rime of The Ancient Mariner
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2012, 07:06:57 pm »
because i know gaurav.


Offline Aishwarya

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Re: Summary : The Rime of The Ancient Mariner
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2012, 05:52:44 pm »
Gaurav : Hmm... I see :P