The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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First Voice and Second Voice Character Analysis

These two voices, the First Voice and Second Voice, are introduced at the end of Part Six in the poem, and continue into the beginning of Part Seven. The voices are supernatural spirits that discuss the penance the Mariner has done and the continued penance that will be required of him.

First Voice and Second Voice Quotes in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The The Rime of the Ancient Mariner quotes below are all either spoken by First Voice and Second Voice or refer to First Voice and Second Voice. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin edition of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner published in 0.
Part V Quotes

'Is it he?' quoth one, 'Is this the man?
By him who died on cross,
With his cruel bow he laid full low
The harmless Albatross.

Quoth he, 'The man hath penance done,
And penance more will do.'

Related Characters: First Voice and Second Voice (speaker), The Ancient Mariner, The Lonesome Spirit from the South Pole
Related Symbols: The Albatross
Page Number: 398-409
Explanation and Analysis:

After the Mariner’s momentary absolution and spiritual realization, he is also able to fall into sleep, and finally can drink water. But after nature rages and angels possess and reanimate the Sailors’ bodies, the Mariner is thrown into a fit. Within this strange dreamspace, the Mariner hears the First Voice and the Second voice conferring about who he is (“is it he?”) and what he has done (“With his cruel bow he laid full low / the harmless Albatross”). The excerpt here demonstrates how overt Coleridge’s storytelling is at certain moments. One of the voices says explicitly that the Mariner has done penance, and will do more penance in the future. This line proves to be true in the immediate future, and for the rest of the Mariner’s existence, as the poem ultimately implies that his penance is never ending and he is never completely absolved.

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First Voice and Second Voice Character Timeline in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The timeline below shows where the character First Voice and Second Voice appears in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part V
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
...is thrown into a fit, and in that strange state he hears two voices (the First Voice and Second Voice ) beginning to converse. The voices clarify with one another that the Mariner is indeed... (full context)
Part VI
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
The First Voice and Second Voice briefly continue their conversation, explaining that the moon and sea are working together to navigate... (full context)