Many critics see
Milton Parallels? Shelley’s Interpretation? the “Rime of the
(Paradise Lost) (Frankenstein)
as an allegory of
some kind of fall,
Sin, Punishment, Redemption…
Of Coleridge -
Of Lucifer - Of Adam & Eve - “witch’s oils, / …burnt
…cast into hell …forbidden fruit green, and blue and
“…slimy things … “I shot the albatross”
Slimy sea” “…and I had done a A shifting series or
succession of things seen or
“…the very deep did hellish thing…” imagined, as in a dream.
Purely inspirational? Dark gothic?
“cursed me with his eye”
“poetry gives most pleasure when only generally
and not perfectly understood"
Many critics maintain, as Christopher Lamb does,
that the ‘Ancient Mariner’ is a work of complete
and pure imagination. As…
No single interpretation seems to
fit the entire poem…
In essence, it is a very imaginative
and unusual piece…
Gustav Doré’s Dark Etches…
Coleridge felt a deep sense of sin,
for his opium addiction.
The poem could be his way of fathoming his
The “strange power” of the Ancient Mariner, as his difficult feelings.
“mingled strangely with my fears”
“I know that man … must hear me” / “To him my tale I teach”
Hence, his sensitivity and saying that the poem
should not be analyzed?
(“poetry gives most pleasure when only
generally and not perfectly understood“)
“Instead of the cross, the Albatross/
About my neck was hung”
“I had killed the bird / That made
the breeze to blow”
“Hailed it in God’s name”
“Crimson red like Gods own head”
- “Hid in mist” Crew
- “dungeon-grate” “blessed them
Some critics maintain that this ballad was an
exploration, by Coleridge, into the science vs.
There are many mysterious fantastical images,
the “glittering eye” with its “strange power…”
the “polar spirits” and “seraph band…”
He was at a point in his life where he was more concerned
with the rational than the empirical, this poem was an
exploration of the former.
The Latin preface says, “Human cleverness
has always sought knowledge of these things,
never attained it.”