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The Evil Beyond the Sea

The poems, “The Daemon-lover” and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, present several parallels and a few notable differences. In “The Daemon-lover,” a woman, who was a wife and a mother, leaves her family to fill her desires with a new man. She was deluded, the man turned into the devil and she was condemned to hell. In “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” the mariner killed an Albatross, a bird known for good fortune. This brought a curse onto the ship, the wind ceased and the ship halted to a stop in the middle of the ocean. All of the sailors on the ship, but the ancient mariner died. The mariner had to live in constant agony after the incident because everyone wanted to hear the story of the ancient mariner. Each poem exhibits someone committing a reprehensible action and having to deal with the repercussions it; however, the rationale behind each person’s action and the repercussions they face because of their action defer.

In the poem ¨The Daemon-lover,¨ the woman encounters the Devil in disguise and falls into his trap. The Devil said to the woman, ¨I hae seven ships upon the sea, / The eighth brought me to land; / With four-and-twenty bold mariners, / And music on every hand¨(30). She decided to follow him onto the ship and soon after she was condemned to hell. Similarly in ¨The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” the ancient mariner went to sea with about two hundred other mariners and regrettably shot an albatross, which is known to bring good fortune. The poem takes place at a wedding party where is forced to tell his story of what happened on that ship. On the ship, the ancient mariner was forced to hang the carcass of the albatross around his neck. All of the other two hundred mariners died on board the ship, while the ancient mariner was the only one left alive to tell the horrific story of what happened on board of the ship. Similarly, both the woman and the ancient mariner caused death. The woman was condemned to hell and the mariner had everyone around him on board the ship die before his eyes. These deaths were caused by the actions that both the woman and ancient mariner committed. The rash decisions that the woman and the ancient mariner made endlessly caused agony upon them. 

Although, both of the poems are very similar to one another and they both have a similar story to tell. There are some differences between the storylines of ¨The Rime of the Ancient Mariner¨ and ¨The Daemon-lover.” The ancient mariner made an appalling impulse decision to kill the albatross by himself; ¨The Rime of the Ancient Mariner¨ states, ¨With my cross-bow I shot the albatross¨(80). In contrast, the woman was outwitted and fell for the ruse set up by the Devil. Another major difference in the plots of each poem is who suffered because of the main character’s decisions. In ¨The Daemon-lover,¨ the woman says, ¨If I was to leave my husband dear, / And my two babes also, / O what have you to take me to, / If with you I should go?¨(25). When she decided to leave with the man, who turned out to be the Devil, her husband and her children suffered because of her decision. In ¨The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,¨ all of the other mariners on the ship suffered and died because of the ancient mariner’s decision. Unlike the woman in ¨The Daemon-lover,¨ the ancient mariner was left alone aboard the ship to manage his guilt, while the woman was drowned at sea after following her desires. While these poems have numerous similarities within the plot, they also have notable differences.

Within the lines of both ¨The Daemon-lover¨ and ¨The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,¨ there are many parallels and differences. Similarities between the two poems would be that both of the main characters made rash decisions with regretful consequences and each poem’s actions caused death in some form. Differences between the two poems would be that the ancient mariner made an impulse decision by himself and that the woman was conned into leaving her family behind. Another difference would be that the ancient marinerś actions caused all two hundred other mariners to suffer and die and he lived to tell the agonizing story repeatedly for the years to come, while the woman left her family behind causing them to suffer, but she was drowned and condemned to hell. There are many ideas that live in the lines of Coleridge’s poem that are seen echoed throughout the poem of ¨The Daemon-lover,¨ while there are also some significant differences between the two storylines. 

Works Cited

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The Norton Anthology of British Literature: The Romantic Period. 10th ed. Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor. W. W. Norton, 2017. pp. 448-64.

¨The Daemon-lover.¨ The Norton Anthology of British Literature: The Romantic Period. 10th ed. Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor. W. W. Norton, 2017. pp. 37-39.

2 thoughts on “The Evil Beyond the Sea

  1. Caeley, “The Evil Beyond the Sea” presents a thoughtful comparative study of the Celtic ballad “The Daemon-lover” and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” focusing on the depiction of the reprehensible acts they depict. Eliminating repetition (especially of the words “similarities” and “differences”) and correcting minor errors of style would make this strong essay even stronger.


  2. Your analysis presents striking comparisons and differences between “The Daemon-lover” and “The Rime of Ancient Mariner”, and it does a remarkable job of analyzing each component. I also thought that the title for your analysis does an outstanding job of displaying a clear window into your analysis that portrays a keen resemblance between the two poems. Your analysis presents strong arguments for each point you make, however, I believe that the deliverance and style you used to present your arguments can be improved to make their emphasis even stronger. By eliminating some repetitiveness in the points declared or overall reducing wordiness in some sentences, I believe that your analysis would be a phenomenal finished product.


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