The Rime of the ancient mariner by

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Note in inglese. Contenuto, interpretazione, collegamenti all'opera e commento della prima parte dell'opera di S.T. Coleridge (6 pagine formato pdf)

Content

The “Rime of the ancient mariner” is made up of seven parts and is set in a boundless sea with days of pitiless sun and nights lit by the moon.
It is introduced by an argument containing a short summary of the whole poem and consists of two narratives:


one is made up of the captions (=didascalie) which constitute the framework and introduce the protagonist and his listener, the other is the poem itself, which deals with the extraordinary adventures of the mariner.

In the first part the ancient mariner stops a wedding guest to tell him his dreadful tale.
He narrates how he and his fellow mariners reached the equator and the polar regions after a violent storm.
After several days an albatross appeared through the fog and was killed by the mariner.

The shooting of a bird may seem a matter of little moment, but Coleridge makes it significant in two ways. First of all, he does not say why the mariner kills the albatross and what matters is precisely the uncertainty of the mariner’s motives, which suggests the essential irrationality of the
crime. Secondly, this action is against nature and breaks a sacred law of life.

The mariner’s motives for killing the albatross, one of the most interesting aspects of the poem, remain a mystery. The act in effect is pure, without motivation, and radically separates him from the symbolic community and from the logical chain of cause and effect. In the second part the mariner begins to suffer punishment for what he has done, and Coleridge
transfers to the physical world the corruption and the helplessness (incapacità, debolezza) which are the common attributes of guilt.