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How does Coleridge tell the story in part 4 of Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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Introduction

How does Coleridge tell the story in part 4? Úna Richards 26/03/2013 Part 4 begins with another attempt from the Wedding Guest to get away, shown through the direct speech of the Wedding Guest, ‘I FEAR thee, ancient Mariner!’ The direct speech is also used to remind us that the Mariner is telling a story within the poem. The capitalisation of the word, ‘fear’, is used to echo the honest and fearful reaction of both the Wedding Guest and the reader, following the tragic event that has occurred in the previous part. The first stanza is used to re-acquaint us with the characters in Coleridge’s poem and we are reminded that the Mariner appears to possess all of the features of a dead person, ‘long, and lank, and brown’, but is still alive, reaffirming his liminal state; he is somewhere inbetween life and death. In stanza 2, the ‘glittering eye’ motif is echoed, reminding us of the Mariner’s appearance, the singular eye implies that he not fully there, whilst ‘glittering’ possesses connotations of witchery, furthering the idea that the Mariner is a supernatural creature. In stanzas 3 and 4, Coleridge largely focuses on the isolation of the Mariner. In the 3rd stanza, we see the poet use a lot of repetition in order to communicate the true extent of isolation ...read more.

Middle

The chiasmus-like structure of the quote, ?for the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky?, in the 7th stanza reflects the mariner?s self-reflection as he?s telling the story, consolidating his role as storyteller. The deviation of the ballad form also establishes a re-focus of narration; the quote may be intended as another reminder that we are hearing a character?s story within a poem. The Mariner?s guilt is strengthened, in the 8th stanza, when he states that the accusatory looks of the mariners, as they died, have ?never passed away?, not only have the expressions of the mariners stayed with him, but the general guilt has remained with him. The ?cold sweat? that ?melted from [the dead mariners?] limbs? makes them seem almost life-like, the oxymoronic language helps to convey their liminal state. In the 8th stanza, the mariner states that the ?curse in a dead man?s eye? is ?more horrible than that? of ?an orphan?s curse?, reflecting the extent of blame received by the Mariner, as well as his general guilt and shame. His suffering is emphasised by Coleridge?s intertextual reference to the bible, ?seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse?, as there is an implication that God is punishing the Mariner for destroying one of His own creations, the Albatross. ...read more.

Conclusion

His newfound admiration for nature has made him realise that the true beauty of nature is beyond the expression of mankind, and as he is humbled by religion and nature he believes that only God is capable of creating such things, ?a spring of love gushed from my heart and I blessed them unaware.? The part ends with him finally being in touch with God and religion, ?I could pray?, meaning that he is more connected to a high power, God. There is also a signature reference to the Albatross, ?[it] fell off and sank like lead into the sea.? Albatross represents the burden, and the simile suggests that the burden of blame has finally been released. There is also the assumption that the Albatross is now back in contact with its natural habitat, the sea, a part of nature. The enjambment in the line creates and emphasises a more visual interpretation of the Albatross parting the Mariner?s neck, as it reflects the bird?s downward movement. By the end of the part, much of the Mariner?s initial guilt has been abandoned or at least temporarily distracted by nature. We also get the impression that the curse is over for the Mariner, as he is now starting to acknowledge and admire world?s beauty, however this is just Coleridge lulling us into a false sense of security, as sadly, the curse is far from over. ...read more.

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