The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Make a case for why the Ancient Mariner stops and tells his tale to the Wedding Guest of all people. In your analysis, consider the Hermit, to whom the Ancient Mariner tells his tale for the first time.

  2. 2

    How does Coleridge use Christian and/or Biblical references to weave a moral into "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"? Is the moral itself Christian? Why or why not? Be sure to use at least two of the following categories of evidence in your analysis: symbolism, setting, numbers, baptism, crucifixion, original sin.

  3. 3

    How does Coleridge portray the natural world before and after the Ancient Mariner shoots the Albatross? Is there a major change? Use evidence pertaining to symbolism, metaphor, and rhyme scheme to support your thesis.

  4. 4

    In your opinion, is the Ancient Mariner's punishment for killing the Albatross fair? Whose fate is worse, the Ancient Mariner's or the sailors'? Why?

  5. 5

    Give at least three examples of liminal spaces in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and analyze their significance, if any, to Coleridge's ultimate message to the reader.

  6. 6

    Discuss Coleridge's use of imagery throughout "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner". How does he use sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell to inform the reader's experience of the story? Which senses do you think he emphasizes the most, and why?

  7. 7

    Analyze the importance of the First Voice and Second Voice. To what realm do they belong, the physical or metaphysical? Why do you think Coleridge includes their points of view in the poem?

  8. 8

    Choose one of the following pairs of characters and analyze the similarities and differences in how they are portrayed and what role they serve: the sailors and the Albatross, the Hermit and the Wedding Guest, the Hermit and the Ancient Mariner, Life-in-Death and the spirit that loves the Albatross.

  9. 9

    Why do you think the Ancient Mariner kills the Albatross? Do his actions make him unusually cruel, or do they connect him to the whole of humanity?

  10. 10

    Give varying examples of instances in which someone or something is imprisoned and explain how each contributes to a larger message. Is there any instance in which someone or something that imprisons is then imprisoned, or vice versa?

  11. 11

    Analyze "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" as an allegory for one of the following, using points of evidence from each of the poem's seven parts: the writer's purpose, the need for spiritual salvation, environmentalism and/or animal rights.

  12. 12

    Which do you think is the more significant motivating force in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner": consequence, or coincidence? Make a case for one or the other using key moments of change in the plot as evidence.