Literary Devices in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Coleridge uses various poetic devices in his lyric ballad. These include alliteration, assonance, consonance and onomatopoeia. The fairly straightforward ABCB rhyme scheme is coupled with frequent use of internal rhyme. This rhyme structure creates a lilting, musical feel that echoes the poem’s oral storytelling mode as a ‘tale’ or fable. Parallelism is a deliberate repetition of the same grammatical structure. Coleridge uses parallelism throughout this poem, such as in the lines “For all averred, I had killed the bird / That made the breeze to blow,” and “Then all averred, I had killed the bird / That brought the fog and mist.” This adds symmetry to the poem that builds tension and adds to the poem’s ominous tone.
Literary Devices Examples in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in Seven Parts 5
"Day after day, day after day,..." See in text (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in Seven Parts)
Coleridge uses two literary devices in this stanza to emphasize the length of time that the ship was without wind. First, the repetition of "day after day" gives the impression of a lot of time passing by. Second, the simile in the last two lines where the ship is compared to a painting also reinforces the idea that the ship is static and can't actually move at all.
"Then all averred, I had killed the bird..." See in text (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in Seven Parts)
In this stanza and the previous, Coleridge uses parallelism, repeating the same grammatical forms and structures, to contrast the superstitious and fickle nature of the sailors. The similar structures of these two sets of four lines help to highlight this contrast. First, they blame him for bringing bad luck on them, and then they quickly change their minds and praise him for killing the bird, thinking it had brought bad weather. By doing this, they make themselves accomplices in the Mariner’s crime, which has serious consequences later on.
"The Albatross fell off..." See in text (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in Seven Parts)
The Albatross falling from the Mariner's neck symbolizes what?
"The western wave was all a-flame..." See in text (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in Seven Parts)
What literary device is this line an example of?
"It cracked and growled, and roared and howled..." See in text (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in Seven Parts)
Coleridge's use of these four verbs in succession are examples of onomatopoeia, which refers to words formed from sounds that they are associated with. Note how Coleridge uses this device to create an intense, almost living, scene in the desolate ice fields.