The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Supernaturalism in Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” 10th Grade

Poets in the Romantic period were not preoccupied with reason, unlike most of the intellectuals in the Eighteenth Century. Rather, they were able recognize the importance of non-rational processes in the mind. S.T. Coleridge was particularly interested in the supernatural. As a result, the supernatural is a common theme in many of Coleridge’s poems. Scholar John Beer comments that Coleridge incorporated “magic” in his poetry, asking readers not to question its practicality. This is apparent in his poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, where Coleridge asks the readers to suspend disbelief in order to see the significance behind the supernatural or magical elements.

The power of hypnosis or mesmerism is one of the main supernatural themes in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The mariner is able to hold the wedding guest against his will, as if he has the power of hypnosis. “He holds him with his glittering eye-- The Wedding-Guest stood still, And listens like a three years' child: The Mariner hath his will” (1.13-16). The wedding guest is compelled to listen, as if he is under a spell. A three year old child does not have much say over what happens in his or her life, and likewise, the wedding guest does not have a...

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