The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner ANALYSIS: SETTING

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The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Analysis (Setting)

Where It All Goes Down

Just as the poem has two different narratives (see the "Speaker" section for more), it also has two different settings. The first setting is outside the wedding hall. There is no way to know in what year or even century the poem takes place, but it must have been after the Age of Exploration, because the Mariner describes a voyage all the way down to the Arctic. As for the place, we know the Mariner and the Wedding Guest come from somewhere in the British Isles, but not exactly where. Judging by the use of the Scottish word "kirk," and the fact that ballads were popular in Scotland, this poem could be set in that region.

The wedding, quite frankly, sounds like a rockin' time. There's singing, dancing, drinking, and a whole lot of merry-making. But we only hear all this revelry behind closed doors. The Wedding Guest is sitting on a rock outside the feast, and maybe he catches a glimpse or two of the party when people enter or leave. But that's it. Otherwise he's just sitting in the darkness listening to a grizzled old man with magnetic eyes.

The setting of the Mariner's story, on the other hand, is full of spectacular scenery and supernatural elements. Special emphasis is put on the weather and on astrological phenomena like the sun, moon, and stars. These are obviously things of great concern for sailors. The story begins in the bay with the receding shoreline. The boat travels down to the equator and then to the Arctic Ocean…

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