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Rime of the ancient mariner - part 3

The first stanza has 6 lines, so there’s an immediate change. Al line 5 it’s the mariner that sees: he’s always the agent of what happens in the story. But it’s only him who has this sight and in stanza 4, to communicate it to the others, he bites his arm and sucked the blood and then he cried “a sail! A sail!”. This is a macabre detail, taken from Gothic tradition (in the Gothic tradition was born vampire stories too, such as Dracula). In stanza 8 they understand it’s a ghost ship, because they can see the sun through it. In stanza 9 we can see the use, common in English tradition, of the pronoun “she” instead of “it” to talk about ships. On board there are two figures: a girl and the Death, represented under the aspect of a skeleton (but without the scythe that was typical of Death’s representations). The Death is personified. In stanza 11 there’s a description of the woman, that seems to be beautiful and sexual attractive, but there’s something out of place in the description: the skin white as leprosy (it was a wide spread calamity in the Middle Ages, so it’s another reference to it, it’s also a bad omen for something terrible going to happen). In stanza 12 the sailors sees that the two people are playing a game, a dice game to win something: the mariner’s life. The woman wins it, while the Death has the lives of the other sailors. They’re all died except for one, but this one has a more terrible destiny than death: he will be convict to be dead-alive for the eternity. In stanza 13 the sun set and the night come, but there’s no twilight. In stanza 15 there’s another bad omen, because this particular position of the moon was a bad omen for sailors. In stanza 17 there’s the death of all the sailors except for the ancient mariner, they “dropped down” (same expression used in part two for the wind, and so it’s a clear consequence of that). They all die one by one. “4 times 50 living men”: this expression is used to underline it was a really big number of people and just before dropping down they all turned to watch him, with eyes that curses him, because he’s the cause of their death, they again blame him. They die of thirst, but it seems more like a supernatural death. In stanza 18 there the reference to the “cross” in the word “crossbow”, which was the cause of this.

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