Romantic Heavy Metal

The Ancient Mariner is not a piece of work talking to another piece of work. It’s a poet talking to it’s readers, anyone reading it. The goal is no longer to impress anybody or produce a “good” poem. Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a common man that writes about what he wants to write and focuses on the inner struggles of the Mariner in his story. At the end of the first section we see the Mariner recall his inner struggles: “’God save thee, ancient Mariner!/From the fiends that plague thee thus-Why look’st thou so?’- with my cross bow/I shot the Albatross”(263). I would describe the poetic tone as both reminiscing and self-focused. It’s the Mariner’s story and even the wedding guest who didn’t want to hear him now is so invested in this common man’s story.

Similarly, Iron Maiden’s heavy metal version of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” ascribes to the same requirements for romantic poetry: it is self-reflective. At minute 2:26, the band makes the song about them. Their song is a self-reflection about them. It’s more than just retelling a tale written by Coleridge, it’s a telling that revels the inner struggles of the band members. The lyrics read, “And the thirst goes on and on for them and me.” The band refer to the ancient Mariner, it’s not a song where the ancient Mariner is narrating. So, the “me” is self-focusing in this song, like it is in the poem.

While the song seems like an adaption of the poem written many years ago, it is a completely new piece of literature. But, instead of referencing the ancient Mariner, Iron Maiden tells the story of the ancient Mariner. It was very romantic of Iron Maiden to give a wider range of people access to this tale by retelling it and making it available to more common people that might not have read it in an English 102 course at a University of California.

-Israel Alonso




2 thoughts on “Romantic Heavy Metal

  1. Awesome! I liked the last especially because it’s true; even though Cooleridge was trying to make a more accessible and understanding texts for the common people, I think Iron Maiden did it even more justice. A lot of people, whether they know the original poem or not, have listened to the song and have felt with it; and that is one of the most important aspects of Romantic poetry: evoking emotions. In this sense, I believe Cooleridge wouldn’t mind rocking out to this tune.


  2. I really liked your focus on self-reflection. Also, I agree that I like dhow you talked about accessibility being improved by Iron Maiden. You make interesting points about how it becomes open to more audiences when it is more understandable and emotive making it more like romantic poetry. I thought your points was very original. The only thing i would ask is to really analyze why song and throughout what techniques is meaning and emotion expressed/


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