Supernatural Elements in “The Rime of Ancient Mariner” | S. T. Coleridge

Supernatural Elements in "The Rime of Ancient Mariner" | S. T. Coleridge

S. T. Coleridge was also a romantic poet but he was different from others because of his technique of supernaturalism. His presentation in this regard is worth mentioning. Beside themes, “The Rime of Ancient Mariner” entirely depends on supernatural elements. He converts a dream into a poem. He combines naturalism with supernaturalism and with the mixture of these two wrote this poem. Readers have no choice except to believe in the imagination of poet. World of imagination is limitless. A writer or poet can go beyond reality and can write what he thinks best for his subject.

It is recommended to read Rime of the Ancient Mariner summary to understand supernatural elements in the poem.

Supernaturalism is name of super powers. It is against nature, therefore, it is hard to believe in it. In other words, it is a lie. However, it becomes truth when presented by poets like S.T. Coleridge. “The Rime of Ancient Mariner” proves that natural and supernatural elements if combined then they can create a wonderful story.

Supernatural Elements in “The Rime of Ancient Mariner” | S. T. Coleridge

The poem is an interesting story of a mariner. We find a lot of supernatural elements in “The Rime of Ancient Mariner”. Real story of the poem starts with killing of Albatross. Fog disappears; weather becomes clear for a moment but soon wind follows the ship. It wants revenge. Eventually, ship stops unexpectedly and miserable life of mariner starts.

Besides, there are some other incidents in “The Rime of Ancient Mariner” that are entirely dependent on supernatural elements. Following supernatural elements are observed by the readers in “The Rime of Ancient Mariner”:

  • Ship of deads moves without favourble winds
  • Ship’s appearance and sudden disappearance
  • Two mysterious voices
  • Dice game between life and death with mariner at stake
  • Fire on the surface of water
  • Waking deads

All above examples prove that “Rime of Ancient Mariner” is a gallery of supernatural elements.

Supernatural events are mixed with natural elements. Poem is called masterpiece because of the combination of both. A wide world of supernaturalism has been painted but it always takes nature with it. Every detail given by the poet is realistic and sensible. Coleridge’s skillful presentation is called super sensible instead of supernatural because readers believe in them.

Scenery of the poem is also supernatural yet the poet blends it with natural elements. Coleridge is deeply influenced by Wordsworth and his poetry is full of truthful natural images. Landscape, seascape and geography, in “The Ancient Mariner” is based on truth and no one can deny it. Sometimes, poet gives human qualities to natural objects but that is what we call personification.

It is much hard to differentiate supernatural from natural elements in “The Rime of Ancient Mariner”. Furthermore, it is difficult to notice where naturalism ends and supernaturalism starts. It is because they are close to reality. Poet first wins confidence of his readers and then gradually discusses supernatural events. He does not instantly starts exaggerating the story. It is because of this technique, he does not loose his credibility of storytelling. Supernatural events and natural events cannot be disconnected from each other in Coleridge’s poems. He himself writes in “Biographia Literaria”:-

“My endeavours were directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic; yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of constitute of poetic faith”

S. T. Coleridge – “Biographia Literaria”

Majority of poems of S. T. Coleridge are dramatic and he is considered better storyteller than many of the novelists. His storytelling method is more appreciated than his poetic genius. Hence, as a storyteller, he has to use such elements, which win confidence of his readers and create amusement for them. Most of the time his poems demand supernaturalism. He manages this technique very skillfully. He exaggerates his story but becomes dramatic hence readers believe in it.

Crux of the above discussion is that S. T. Coleridge is a poet of supernaturalism. He is a good storyteller too. For this purpose, he uses supernaturalism. “The Rime of Ancient Mariner” is is full of supernatural elements but nothing is unbelievable. Poem is dramatic. Natural scenery with personification becomes amazingly enjoyable. So far as the spirits, mentioned in the poem, are concerned, there is always a spiritual insight in the poetry of S.T. Coleridge. The poem at the end gives us a moral lesson. Ancient Mariner commits sin, then fears and finally repents on his sin. Indeed “The Rime of Ancient Mariner” contains supernatural elements but they are so strongly connected to natural events that readers believe in them.

Related Questions:

  • “In the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, Coleridge exercises an imaginative realism; however unnatural his events, they are formed from natural elements, and we believe in them” Discuss.