Friday, March 27, 2009

Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Rime of the Ancient Mariner
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Link to text:

Being in Loyola's production of "The Pirates of Penzance," I found "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" very interesting. Even though the poem is relatively recent, the legend of the poem has had a resounding effect on our culture. The "Pirates of the Caribean" series copies scenes from the poem almost directly. Pirate Captain Jack Sparrow and company end up in a frozen wasteland, they deal with slimy things in the form of Davy Jones, and a supernatural character plays dice for the crew's souls.

The sea has always mystified us; especially us land-lubbers. It is dark, deep, and huge, with unknown lands beyond the horizon. The concept of sea monsters still intrigues us, as evident in movies in "Jaws." The narrative of "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" taps into our fear of the sea, and combines the supernatural with the natural, real world. Although everything that happens is very real to the ancient mariner, his story seems to suggest that he may be hallicinating from dehydration and/or being on a ship with a bunch of dead bodies. Both Coleridge and Wordsworth were fascinated by the proto-psychology that was being developed in their day. As a result, this poem also has a psycho-analytic side. The multiple layers are one reason this poem has been as influential as it has been.

(Come see the Pirates of Penzance, starring me, next weekend!)


No comments: