The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The Mariner's Ancient Eye: Multiple Perspectives in Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

In a revision of his enduring poem Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Coleridge added a pointed Latin epigraph, perhaps to clarify what he hoped the poem would convey upon his readers. The added lines ask us to reevaluate our perceptions of man and nature, as what is easily perceived by man is far from the full truth. The epigraph seems to be a challenge to the poet, to lead us into the truth: "I easily believe that in the universe the invisible Natures are more numerous than the visible ones. But who will clarify for us the family of all these natures, the ranks and relationships and criteria and functions of each of them? What do they do? In what places do they dwell?" In the poem, Coleridge provides us a stunning narrative in which supernatural elements and awesome illustrations of natural beauty come together to explore such "invisible Natures," but the poem stands out as much for its stellar use of narrative strategies as its inspiring aesthetic. Coleridge provides a gripping exploration of the questions proposed in the epigraph by giving the reader multiple perspectives on the Mariner's tale, particularly from the eyes of the Wedding-Guest, the Mariner's shipmates, and the Mariner himself. By...

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