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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

First and foremost, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is one of the best representatives of the English ballad tradition. A ballad is not just a kind of song that people slow-dance to with the lights...

Speaker

You got to love a speaker that says eleven words in the first two lines before passing the poem off to a strange old man who likes to hang around outside wedding celebrations. But in all seriousnes...

Setting

Just as the poem has two different narratives (see the "Speaker" section for more), it also has two different settings. The first setting is outside the wedding hall. There is no way to know in wha...

Sound Check

If The Rime of the Ancient Mariner were a song, it would have to be a country song. The comparison between the ballad and country music is appropriate because both are popular folk genres. If you'r...

What's Up With the Title?

The title has different levels of meaning. On the most basic level, the poem is a "rhyme" – that is, it has rhyming verses – told by an old sailor, or mariner. Simple enough.But why is...

Calling Card

When it came to using moonlight to create dramatic, otherworldly effects, Coleridge was as shameless as a contemporary romance novelist. Many of his most famous poems – "Christabel," "Frost a...

Tough-O-Meter

The one reading skill this poem requires more than any other is patience. Not many people have read poems as long as this one, except in translation, where you can often get away with skimming. The...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

We really think this poem would have been about some friends trying to meet some girls at a wedding if the Mariner and his glittering eyes hadn't shown up. The poem has a tension between sensuality...

Shout Outs

Angels (V.79, VI.113)Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus (V.67)The game of dice (III.46)
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