Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE
Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE (1772-1834)
He was born in Devonshire in 1772, he attended university, but never graduated (ha frequentato l'università ma non si è mai laureato). He was a strong supporter of French Revolution, but when he saw the bloodshed of Terror, became conservative. Very important in Coleridge's life were his friendships, firstly with Robert Southey, and then with Wordsworth. With Southey he planned an Utopian society where they could live. Coleridge lived for a certain period of his time with Wordsworth and contributed to the "Lyrical Ballads". With "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", other works by Coleridge are "Kubla Khan", "Lectures of Poetry and Drama" and "Biographia Literaria". He died in 1834.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Focus on the text)
This poem is divided into seven parts and it was composed between 1797 and 1798.
It tells about a story of a mariner who kills an albatross. This story is told by a mariner during a marriage, which tells of how his ship had been blocked by ice at the South Pole and how the arrival of an albatross has brought a good luck with breaking the ice, but the fleet was hit by a curse and all the sailors died except one, who had killed the bird, and he tells his story to the people he met.
This poem is written in the form of a medieval ballad. In the poem reality and supernatural events coexist, and the landscape is described as a mysterious place. The presence of spirit and angels contributes to create a magical atmosphere. The language is characterized by sound effects, internal rhymes, similes, personifications and use of archaisms.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - There was a ship
An ancient mariner meets three young men invited to a wedding-feast, and he stopped one. The main characters are the mariner and the wedding-guest. The mariner has a long beard and glittering eyes. The wedding-guest isn't willing to listen the mariner, because he thinks that the he's (mariner) a vagabond; but after he changes his mind when he looks the mariner's hypnotic eyes. At this point, the wedding-guest is compared to a child. The mariner starts to tell his story from the beginning when the ship left the harbor, with a weather fine and a good wind. Then the wedding-guest hears the sound of a bassoon that announces the beginning of the wedding party, but he continues to listen the mariner and he doesn't reach the guests (non raggiunge gli invitati).
The ice was all around
A storm comes and blows the ship southwards. It becomes misty, the landscape is spectral, ghostly and mysterious. The ship is encircle by ice; then an albatross arrives and the sailors give it food. The arrival of albatross has brought a good luck with breaking of the ice. The mariners are happy about the albatross's presence . The albatross perches on the ship for nine nights .. The ancient mariner then kills the albatross with his crossbow. But the act of killing the albatross is without motivation and separate from the logic of cause and effect.