Sarthaks Test
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The poem is full of strange, uncanny or supernatural elements. Discuss how these elements appear in the poem. You should consider: 

— the strange weather; 

— the albatross as a bird of “good omen” 

— the spirit from “the land of mist and snow”

— the strange slimy creatures seen in the sea

— the ocean appearing to rot 

— the death fires and sea water being referred to as witch’s oil

Now write a paragraph about the supernatural elements in the poem and how they add to the events that take place in the poem.

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‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ is a ballad in the classical tradition. The poem is set more in the mediaeval background than in the modern contexts. The old Mariner with his long grey beard glittering eyes and skinny hands looks ‘ancient’. Like the Mariner, his tale is also ‘ancient’. It is based on the old Christian theme of sin, revenge and repentance.

First came the ‘tyrannous’ storm-blast that stuck the ship and the sailors with its overtaking wings. Then came the land of mist or snow where ice roared and howled like noises in a swound. The ship came to a region where there was no sign of ‘men or beasts’. The arrival of the auspicious albatross was hailed in ‘God’s name’. The killing of the innocent bird brought curses and miseries for the sailors. 

Coleridge had to create a suitable atmosphere for a tale based on the Christian concept of sin, revenge and repentance. The atmosphere was made ‘sad as sad could be’. They were ‘stuck’ in the middle of the ocean. Nor breath nor motion could be felt. Only a ‘painted ship’ was stuck on a painted ocean. A curse followed. The ‘very deep did rot’. Strange slimy things crawled with legs ‘upon the slimy sea’ And then there followed death fires dancing at night. Even the sea-water started burning like a ‘witch’s oils’ green, blue or white. The mariners were assured that the spirit that plagued them had been following them from ‘the land of mist and snow’. Thus Coleridge makes the poem full of supernatural elements.

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