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Use Of imagery And Sensory Impression In ‘The Rime Of Ancient Mariner’ Essay

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Updated: Dec 21st, 2018

Use of imagery as a stylistic device has well been elucidated in the Rime of ancient mariner by Coleridge. Coleridge has employed different imagery techniques to bring life to his work (Dean 47). He has employed use of metaphors in several instances (Coleridge 2). Similes, alliteration, assonance and consonance have also been given a place in his work. Coleridge has strived to utilize both descriptive and figurative language to invoke sensory imagination in the minds of the readers as well as breathe some air into his work.

The above imagery techniques have been explored in every section and throughout the poem to energize the work and move beyond just a mere study of language. In part I, the first paragraph, the metaphor “By thy long grey beard and glittering eye” has been used by Coleridge” to create a visualization in the minds of the readers on the nature of the character’s eye and hair (Coleridge 1).

Coleridge also tries to make the reader visualize the body of the character how he/she looks like and seek to form questions in their mind concerning the health of the person when he says “he holds “He holds him with his skinny hand” (3).

Coleridge strives to bring in another new imagery device known as similes when he says “And listens like a three years’ child” (Coleridge 5). This explains the degree of attentiveness of the character. It also tries to breathe some life in the play. Moreover, the writer blows in new air in his work when he repeatedly use sound T in the following sentence “The Wedding-Guest stood still” (Coleridge 7). The device is used to convey the gist of what the writer wanted to put across.

This is also meant to give opportunity to readers to have a description on how the character stood. The writer further utilizes metaphor and assonance in two different lines “And thus spake on that ancient man” and “The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,” (Coleridge 4). In the first place, he endeavors to make us have a clear description of the character when he uses the metaphor. The use and repetition of sound E also helps the writer to vividly bring out the meaning he intended to his audience (Coleridge 5).

In the fifth stanza a new style emanates. Coleridge personalizes sun when he says “The Sun came up upon the left” (1). Coleridge uses this to create meaning to his work and help readers understand better what he is striving to communicate. Coleridge combines two devices in subsequent lines “The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast. For he heard the loud bassoon” (6).

Sound T and E are used to enhance the message the author intended to communicate. It also endeavors to make the audience awake to hear more from the play. In the same stanza he makes use of a simile “Red as a rose is she” to create visualization in the minds of the audience. In the successive stanza, Coleridge uses metaphor “he bright-eyed Mariner” he uses this to describe the appearance of the character and make us the readers to visualize how the person he is talking about looks like.

Coleridge strives to make the audience picture the scene when he uses metaphor and invasion. He employees the styles in the following lines “With sloping masts and dipping prow”, “And southward aye we fled” (8). The author further uses personification where he states that “And now there came both mist and snow,

And it grew wondrous cold, The ice was here, the ice was there, It ate the food it ne’er had eat” (9). Coleridge uses this to bring meaning to the poem and to make the audience alive to continue hearing what he is trying to communicate.

Coleridge utilizes personification to make the audience have a visualization of the nature of the scene and the character in the play, the device is also used to breathe air into the poem. Examples of these devices are “And the good south wind still blew behind, the silence of the sea” (11).

In addition, similes have also been applied in this part of the play “As idle as a painted ship”. Coleridge uses this device to bring out meaning of what he intends to communicate to the audience. It further makes the audience happy and proceeds to hear what the writer is communicating. Metaphor also comes up in this part, although it is not applied severally as the other two “Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs” (12).

Coleridge further portrays more use of imagery in part III, he capitalizes on use of personification to enhance his language, bring taste to his work and fully describe the characters, scene and the setting as well as creating imagination in minds of the audience. This figure is well explicated than other stylistic devices in this part.

However the writer uses similes, metaphor, consonance and assonance in this part to create more meaning to his work and activate audience to keep going and get more from the play. Example of this are simile, “And the balls like pulses bea”. Consonance repetition of sound B “Her beams bemocked the sultry main” is also evident. Assonance repetition of sound O “ sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths” can be picked out.

The author continues to navigate further on various imagery devices in part IV. In this part, he gives more attention on metaphors than other devices to give life to his work. This creates a vivid description of the characters and the scene hence making the audience have a clear visualization of the same. Example of this is “I fear thee and thy glittering eye” (Coleridge 15).

Coleridge radiates more figurative language in part V of the play. He gives more emphasis on the use of similes and metaphors than other stylistic devices to describe the appearance of the character hence making the audience have a vivid picture of the character and the scene example of the similes.

In this part is “They raised their limbs like lifeless tools” metaphors have also been used. More of these stylistic devices continue to be explored in part VI. The author uses similes, metaphor and consonance respectively to create a vivid description of the characters, “Still as a slave before his lord, His great bright eye most silently, sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze”.

Coleridge has extensively used the five human senses to strike a balance of what he strives to communicate to his audience. He has mostly employed use of sight and hearing than touch, taste and smell to effectively enlighten the audience. In the Part 1 of the play he uses sight expansively to vividly describe the character, setting and the scene.

He also uses the same to draw audience into his work as well as enable them to create extensive description and imagination of the plays and try to fictionalize the same. Example of the places where the sense has been applied is “By thy long grey beard and glittering eye, The Bridegroom’s doors are opened wide, with sloping masts and dipping prow, Glimmered the white Moon-shine” (Coleridge 20).

Furthermore, Coleridge has well illustrated and utilized sense of hearing in several instances in the play. He has applied this to describe appearance of the characters, setting, give meaning to his work as well as involving readers in his work. Example of this is in part I, stanza eight of the play “The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast” part II, stanza seven “The silence of the sea” part III “With far-heard whisper, o’er the sea”(24). The author uses this sensory organ to effectively communicate the message he intend.

Coleridge continues to invoke sensory impression when he further brings in sense of touch. He uses this device in almost every part of the play to bring to bring out his message. He uses this to get the readers’ head deep in the story and essentially get the picture of what is happening as if they are watching a movie. Example of this part I, stanza 10 “And it grew wondrous cold”.

The writer doesn’t make good use of taste and smell senses in his work as compared to the others. However, he endeavors to us an element of this to create feeling and imagination in the minds of the audience as well as successfully tailor his message. Example of this is in part V where he uses taste when he says “Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths” (Bloom 220).

Coleridge seemed to adopt more application of visual sense in his work as compared to the other four. He has employed this style in every stanza of the play. Coleridge may have opted for the style as it seem to be the most effective in creating colorful description of the characters, scene and the setting. He also uses this to give a chance to the readers to picture the scene in detail.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, New York: Infobase Publishing, 2010. Print.

Coleridge, Samuel. The Rime of Ancient Mariner in Seven Parts, Middlesex: The Echo Library Publishers, 2007. Print.

Dean, Nancy. Voice Lessons: Classroom Activities to teach Diction, Imagery, Syntax and Tone, New York: Maupin House Publishing, 2000. Print.

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