Summary of ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’

This poem, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ written by ‘S.T. Coleridge’ is all about an ancient mariner who stops one of the wedding guest that has come to attend a wedding. The mariner wants to tell him a story but the wedding guest seems to be more interested in attending the wedding than being a patient listener to his story. He refuses to listen to his story but the mariner holds him with his hypnotic eyes and makes him listen to his story like a three year old child.

The ancient mariner starts his story with a ship which is cheered by the people in a fine weather. The ship comes across no problem in its first leg of journey but soon it is chased by a storm which makes it move faster than its normal speed. Due to extreme coldness, they reach the place which is full of ice. The poet uses the sentence “The ice was here, the ice was there” to highlight the severe condition of the mariners as well as the ship which was stuck among ice cliffs.

Soon comes an Albatross (A White Sea Bird) which steers them through that wondrous cold to a safer place. All the mariners hail it in God’s name as if it had come to help the mariners. That albatross comes daily to have its food, to play at a single call of the mariners. It is soon shot by the mariner with his crossbow who finds it responsible for the deteriorating condition of the weather. He is sometimes supported by other mariners as well as cursed for his that misdeed of killing the albatross throughout the chapter.

After killing of the albatross, the ship reaches to a silent sea where there is no movement, no blowing of wind and ship doesn’t seem to be unmoving an inch from its place. The poet calls it a ‘painted ship on the painted ocean’. The poet adds an irony here that they have water everywhere but not a drop to drink. Due to that extreme hot weather, their throats get choked to the bottom and they fear dying of thirst. Ultimately, holding the ancient mariner responsible for everything, they hang the dead albatross around the neck of the mariner, to show their anger.

This poem highlights the ever changing nature of human beings that change themselves as per the situations.

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