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How does S.T. Coleridge create an atmosphere of mystery in his poem ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’?

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How does S.T. Coleridge create an atmosphere of mystery in his poem 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' S.T Coleridge's poem of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner creates an atmosphere of mystery by his use of language and choice of setting. I am going to investigate on how Coleridge does this by looking at both his use of language and choice of setting. Parts 1-4 The poem begins when Three young men are walking together to a wedding, when one of them is distracted by a grizzled old sailor. The young Wedding-Guest angrily demands that the Mariner let go of him, and the Mariner obeys. But the young man is hypnotised by the ancient Mariner's "glittering eye" and can do nothing but sit on a stone and listen to his strange tale. The Mariner says that he sailed on a ship out of his native harbor--"below the kirk, below the hill, / Below the lighthouse top"--and into a sunny and cheerful sea. Hearing bassoon music drifting from the direction of the wedding, the Wedding-Guest imagines that the bride has entered the hall, but he is still helpless to break himself away from the Mariner's story. The Mariner recalls that the voyage quickly darkened, as a giant storm rose up in the sea and chased the ship southward. Quickly, the ship came to a frigid land "of mist and snow," where "ice, mast-high, came floating by"; the ship was hemmed inside this maze of ice. ...read more.


For seven days and seven nights the Mariner endured the sight, and yet he was unable to die. At last the moon rose, casting the great shadow of the ship across the waters; where the ship's shadow touched the waters, they burned red. The great water snakes moved through the silvery moonlight, glittering; blue, green, and black, the snakes coiled and swam and became beautiful in the Mariner's eyes. He blessed the beautiful creatures in his heart; at that moment, he found himself able to pray, and the corpse of the Albatross fell from his neck, sinking "like lead into the sea." Parts 5-7 The Mariner continues telling his story to the Wedding-Guest. Free of the curse of the Albatross, the Mariner was able to sleep, and as he did so, the rains came, drenching him. The moon broke through the clouds, and a host of spirits entered the dead men's bodies, which began to move about and perform their old sailors' tasks. The ship was propelled forward as the Mariner joined in the work. The Wedding-Guest declares again that he is afraid of the Mariner, but the Mariner tells him that the men's bodies were inhabited by blessed spirits, not cursed souls. At dawn, the bodies clustered around the mast, and sweet sounds rose up from their mouths--the sounds of the spirits leaving their bodies. The spirits flew around the ship, singing. ...read more.


The main reason for this would be the intricate details of the mariner with 'long grey beard and glittering eye' used to describe that the mariner is old and mysterious. The wedding guest also becomes eerily hypnotised and transfixed by the mariner's 'glittering eye' and he also 'listens like a three years child'. When the Mariner begins to tell his voyage the poem goes into past tense plunging the reader into the role of the mariner hearing the voices around him rather than hearing them described. The language changes throughout the voyage when the 'storm blast' came making the storm out to be a supernatural power which blows them south to a frigid land of 'mast and snow'. At this point the ship could have been blown to the Antarctic although it doesn't mention it by name but by the descriptions and alliterations such as 'the ice was here, the ice was there, the ice was all around.' The descriptions and details make the reader picture the scenario using them. The albatross is described as a symbol of good luck because the wind blows when it is present, this gives us an idea of how superstitious sailors would have been those days. When the mariner kills the albatross the sailors are both shocked and angry for the mariner killing the creature that made the breeze blow but when the fog disappears the sailors congratulate him on his deed. The poem creates an atmosphere of mystery and disbelief with its strong use of language and cunning storyline. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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