Romanticism (and suspense) on Board

Iron Maiden’s heavy metal version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is like Romantic poetry due to the imagery, and figurative language. Both the poem and song contain characteristic that would label them as romantic poetry. In stanza twelve the scenario around the ship is described as having “Sloping masts” which means it was at a slope angle as if it were sinking if. That is a very sorrow image because it is as if the ship were about to sink down this is vivid imagery because it gives the reader a view of how “distressed” the ship was. This helps set the tone for the poem.  In the next line the words “who pursued with yell and blow” add more to the haunting and dark image. Since the storm that is taking place is adding to the dark it is even worse that the ship is being followed by its “foe” or enemy as the storm is described.

It is interesting that the song includes the lyrics “The mariner kills the bird of good omen. His shipmates cry against what he’s done. But when the fog clears, they justify him. And make themselves a part of the crime.” This correlates with the idea (in lecture note 8) of romanticism deepening the appreciation for   the weird, the occult, the monstrous, the diseased and even satanic which is the same feeling the song evokes when speaking about “good omen” even though there may be a contrast between the good and bad omen there is still an appreciation for the supernatural.

The words “and forward bends his head”  in the poem are highlighting  the stress the ship is feeling because of the toll the storm is taking on it. This is personification because it is obvious that the ship cannot have human characteristics.   However, on the last sentence is is explained that the ship is moving forward, “The ship drove fast, … aye we fled “which is a characteristic of hope which both aligns with the ideas of romanticism being imaginative and spontaneous because it was spontaneous that after the gloomy scene present in both the poem and song the ship was able to speed away especially with the way the ship’s surroundings were describe din the song as described in the song  “water water everywhere” in the song makes it seems as if the people in the boat are trapped, although it is obvious that there is water everywhere the repetition create a a haunting image.

When the song begins it has very upbeat sound, after a while however the tone changes and it speeds us as if emphasizing that the time is passing by which builds suspense. Shortly after that there is a moment that is silence as if the song were about to end. After the silence the song keeps going but at a faster speed, therefor it aligns very well with the romanticism and flow of the poem.


 -Luz Zepeda



2 thoughts on “Romanticism (and suspense) on Board

  1. This post is unique insofar as it provides a summary of the poem. Summaries are generally discouraged to an audience that knows your content but to the internet at large it was a wise choice. Interesting post overall though.
    3/3 Joshua jolly


  2. If you take away the background music, the singer, the images, and focus on the lyrics alone as a piece of literature, would it still on the same boat as the poem? I like when you mentioned the change in pace of the song and how that effect is similar to what we get in the poem.


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