Section AB practice question Eng Lit - The Rime of The Ancient Mariner

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  • Created by: Molly
  • Created on: 21-04-13 19:32
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  • To what extent would you agree that the Ancient Mariner's ballad form is the key to its effectiveness?
    • Intro:  Ballads were traditionally passed on orally and so had to be memorised. Hence, the fact the poem is a ballad means that it was written by Coleridge with him bearing in mind that it would need to easily be remembered, and the key to it's effectiveness is that it enforces the idea that the Mariner's tale must be passed on, "and listens like a three year child, the Mariner has his will".
    • As traditional ballads use the refrain of words, lines and occasional stanzas the fact the poem is a ballad infers that Coleridge has incorporated such a technique. He uses it subtly for emphasis and for reminding us as the reader, the essence of a THING, "water water everywhere but not a drop to drink", also enforces the idea that some things are more important than others in the poem.
    • Ballads include the musical arrangement of words. Words are arranged in a melodious manner, eg "swiftly, swiftly flew the ship, yet she sailed softly too, sweetly sweetly blew the breeze, on my alone it blew" - use of alliteration is effective as it is audible imagery which makes the poem more "real" for the reader.
  • A supernatural element is always present in traditional ballads and thus the structure of the poem emphasises on the fact that the ship is bewitched (relate to death, life in death etc.)
  • How could it NOT be the key to it's effectiveness? Another interpretation suggests that the use of a ballad in the poem distracts the reader from the seriousness of the morale message behind the poem. (Then relate to an idea that supports your argument and go against this interpretation.
  • There is a unique element to the Ancient Mariner as it is structured modernly for a ballad. For instance in , traditional ballads emphasis is usually laid on external events but the Mariner is present in both the past tense and the present tense in the poem goes against this convention, which is effective as it allows the Mariner to provide a perspective/ opinion which is required in order for the moral to be delivered.


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