Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Ship. Unnamed vessel on which the Mariner rides the waves of the sea, beginning in the third stanza of part 1. As his ship continues its voyage, the sea itself reflects the mood, the emotional intensity, of the ship’s sailors. The men have nowhere else to go so long as they remain at sea, and their ship thus becomes both home and prison to them. When the wind drops, and the ship is becalmed, the Mariner is reminded how confining the ship is. When the ship is trapped among ice floes, the Mariner allows himself to kill the albatross for sport. The Mariner’s ship becomes the stage for his great sin, as well as for the beginning of his redemption.
Other ships also play important parts in this poem. For example, the skeleton ship approaching from the direction of the westward sky, on a still sea where no wind blows, provides a stage for a dialogue that occurs between Specter-Woman and her Deathmate who cast dice for the lives of the sailors.
*South Pole. The southern tip of Earth’s axis is not mentioned by name in the poem, but it is the clear direction in which the Mariner is sent by a storm-blast that drives his ship toward certain judgment in the frigid south. The ice of the southern polar region seems alive, as its movements make noise that sound like wild beasts, frightening the Mariner. The Spirit from the pole embodies these characteristics in the mind of the Mariner, as the Spirit makes the becalmed ship move at the behest of an angelic troupe who still seek vengeance for the albatross.
High seas. Primary location through the poem. Two forms of water trap the ship–ice and water–thereby becoming its primary locus. Sailors learn to read the moods of the sea, based on the winds that propel its waves. The moon, as well, is reflected in the sea’s surface. Coleridge uses the sea, as well as other natural forms, as tools to instruct the Mariner on his moral lapse and lack of respect for all creation. The sun rises and sets several times in the poem, not simply to indicate the passage of time. When the sea gives back the sun’s face in reflection, the Mariner reacts as if all creation were watching and judging him.