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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner


by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Analysis: 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 at Midnight," "Dejection: An Ode," "Kubla Khan," and, of course, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – treat the moon as an object of profound mystery and mythic influence. In both Greek and Roman mythology, the moon is a female goddess who exhibits a secret control over world affairs, similar to the moon's influence over the tides. Sometimes the moon made you go crazy, from which comes our word, "lunatic." We don't think this would be an entirely inappropriate word for the Mariner.

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