Part I: The Wedding guest, the voyage, stuck in ice, he kills the albatross.
The Mariner stops a wedding guest and forces him, spellbound, to listen to his story.
The ship sails south to equator.
Wedding guest hears music of wedding beginning.
A storm hits the ship and impels it south. They are stuck in ice.
An albatross appears and is befriended by the shipmates. A south wind springs up and takes them northward.
The Mariner kills it with his crossbow.
Part II: They suffer punishment for his crime and are becalmed.
The crew at first cry out against him, but then commend him when the fog clears off.
They sail north and become becalmed at the equator. They suffer from thirst. Slimy things are on the surface, and lights are on the water and masts at night.
A spirit follows them under the ship nine fathoms down.
They hang the bird around his neck.
Part III: A skeleton ship comes, and its ghastly crew gambles for their souls. The crew dies.
He sees a ship far off. They rejoice thinking they are saved, but then despair when they wonder how a ship can sail without wind.
It is a skeleton ship with only a woman, Life-in- Death, and a mate, Death, for crew.
They play dice for the crew and she wins. The sun sets and the skeleton ship departs.
The crew dies, one by one, and their souls fly out.
Part IV: He is left alone for seven days. He blesses the water snakes, and the spell is broken.
The wedding guest is afraid that he is speaking to a ghost, but the Mariner assures him that he did not die.
He is left alone and tries to pray but cannot. For seven days he looks at the dead men and cannot die.
He sees the water snakes by the light of the moon. He blesses them and is able to pray. The albatross falls from his neck.
Part V: It rains. The ship is moved north, its crew reanimated by spirits. He swoons and hears two voices.
He sleeps and awakens to find it raining. A roaring wind and storm comes, and the dead crew rises and mans the ship.
The wedding guest is afraid, but is reassured that it is not the souls of the dead men that reanimate them, but a troop of spirits blest. They sing around the mast at dawn till noon, continuing to sail moved on from beneath.
The spirit from the snow and ice moves them to the equator again, and the ship stands still. It moves back and forth then makes a sudden bound. He swoons.
He hears two voices in his sleep tell of his crime and trials.
Part VI: The two voices talk. He wakes up in his native land. The spirits signal the shore, and a boat appears.
The two voices talk back and forth as the ship is impelled northward faster than any human could endure.
He wakes up and the ship sails slowly now. The crew is still up, and their eyes curse him still.
The spell is broken and a sweet breeze blows on him alone. He sees his native country.
The spirits leave the dead bodies and each appears in its own form, full of light. They stand as signals to the land, but make no sound.
A boat is heard coming to him. The Pilot, his boy, and the Hermit are in the boat. He hopes that the Hermit will shrieve his soul to wash away the blood of the albatross.
Part VII: The ship sinks but he is saved. He is compelled to wander and tell his tale.
The lights of the signal have disappeared, and the boat appears warped, the sails like skeletons.
As they approach a rumble is heard under the water. The ship splits and sinks.
His body floats and is found and dragged aboard the boat. When he moves his lips they scream. He rows the boat.
When they reach land he begs the Hermit to shrieve him. The Mariner is overcome by a fit which forces him to tell his tale. Since then, he has had to travel from land to land and tell his tale. He has powers of speech and knows the men to whom he must tell his tale.
The sounds of merriment come from the wedding party within. He tells how sweet it is for him to have company after being alone on the sea and tells the wedding guest to love all thing both great and small.
The wedding guest leaves and rose the next morn wiser and sadder.
Elements of Romanticism
Suffering for offenses against God, man and Nature, the hero-villains wander the earth, alone and misunderstood. Their personal torment in a vast universe is emphasized by desolate settings of icebound seas, jagged mountains and bottomless abysses.
Romanticists believed that retreats into nature provide the soul with a refreshing, a renewal. Nature also provides the mind with the peaceful environment in which to think more clearly.
Suffering for offenses against God, man and Nature, the hero-villains wander the earth, alone and misunderstood. Their personal torment in a vast universe is emphasized by desolate settings of icebound seas, jagged mountains and bottomless abysses
The Supernatural The poem is full of strange, macabre, uncanny or Gothic elements. Gothic horror fiction was very popular at the time it was written. the albatross as a bird of good omen; Death and Life-in-death; the spirit from the land of mist and snow and the two spirits the mariner hears in his trance; the angelic spirits which move the bodies of the dead men the madness of the pilot and his boy the mariner's strange power of speech the strange weather
Similar to other Romantics, Coleridge believed that the seeds of destruction and creation are contained each within the other. One cannot create something without destroying something else. Likewise, destruction leads to the creation of something new. Theme
Coleridge focuses in the poem on humanity's relationship to the natural world. In a larger sense, it is not his killing of the bird that is wrong, but the mariner'sand by extension humankind'scallous and destructive relationship with nature that is in error. Coleridge intends to confront this relationship and place it in a larger philosophical context.
Theme Part of Coleridge's technique is to personify aspects of nature as supernatural spirits. A great deal of Christian symbolism and some allegory are presentparticularly at the end of Part 4, where connections are made between suffering, repentance, redemption, and penance.
Theme Supernatural beings appear in the poem as symbolic or allegorical figures, representing the forces of nature, life, death, and retribution. The mariner confronts these figures and must ultimately appease them in order to obtain his salvation.
Popular Cultural Connections and Allusions
Frankenstein Letter II "I am going to unexplored regions, to "the land of mist and snow." but I shall kill no albatross; therefore do not be alarmed for my safety or if I should come back to you as worn and woeful as the "Ancient Mariner."
Frankenstein Like one who, on a lonely road, Doth walk in fear and dread, And, having once turned round, walks on, And turns no more his head; Because he knows a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread.
Dracula A direct allusion appears in the newspaper account of the calm before the storm that drove the Demeter (carrying Dracula) into Whitby: As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean
Willy Wonka [Introducing fizzy lifting drinks] WONKA: Bubbles, bubbles everywhere, but not a drop to drink.
The Wizard of Oz The Wizard says to the Scarecrow, "Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain!"
Angel. Bodies, bodies everywhere and not a drop to drink.
Serenity In the movie the government agent claims the character River Tam is like an albatross at which point the captain and main character Mal comments the the albatross was a sign of good luck until some idiot killed it.