Romanticism is a term used to refer to a cultural movement whose origins can be traced back to Wordsworth's publication, Lyrical Ballads, in 1798, and it comes to an end in 1924 with Lord Byron's death. It's considered to be a reaction to the Age of Reason and Enlightenment. Romantic thinkers preferred irrationality and attempted to answer big questions.
S. T. Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner": A Poem of Romanticism
S. T. Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is one of the most well-known poems associated with Romanticism. It is included in Biografia Literaria and tells the story of a mariner and his crew sailing, where the mariner kills an albatross and everyone is punished because of it.
Key Features of Romanticism in the Poem
- Irrationality: The whole poem is irrational, reflecting the romantic thinkers' rejection of the rational world. It includes supernatural elements such as "The death-in-life".
- Journey through Memory: The mariner's journey can be seen as a journey through memory. The mariner himself is remembering and telling the story.
- Emphasis on Feelings: The mariner experiences fear while he is still alive and his crew is dying, highlighting the importance of emotions in Romanticism.
- Nature and God: Romantic thinkers explore the relationship between nature and God. God is seen as the inspiration for the poet to write poetry.
Analysis of Key Elements in the Poem
- Albatross: The albatross is interpreted as the representation of God who has come to help the mariners.
- Water: Water, usually seen as a good element, represents the crew's punishment and the impossibility of moving forward.
- Death-in-life: This character kills the entire crew but inflicts a worse punishment on the mariner, who remains alive but suffers.
In conclusion, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" portrays the key issues of Romanticism, making it one of the main works of 19th Century English Literature.