Rime Of The Ancient Mariner Analysis

analytical Essay
1457 words
1457 words

In his epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge critiques the Gothic convention of the explained supernatural (in particular explanation in the form of divine intervention) through his portrayal of the tension between Christian themes and the sublimity of the archaic both within the poem itself as well as in the external preface and marginal glosses accompanying the poem. I intend to argue that despite the seemingly inherent Christian morality present on the surface of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Coleridge subtly draws attention to a pre-Christian subtext, which holds the insignificance of humanity and the unknowability of the universe in high regard. Through his characterization of the Ancient Mariner and his …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how samuel taylor coleridge critiques the gothic convention of the explained supernatural through his portrayal of tension between christian themes and the sublimity of archaic.
  • Analyzes how coleridge begins the rime of the ancient mariner by quoting an excerpt from the 1692 text authored by theologian and natural philosopher thomas burnet.
  • Analyzes how coleridge characterizes the mariner, his interactions with supernatural events in his tale, and the penance he is compelled to serve through the telling of said tale.
  • Analyzes how the mariner's fate is deeply tied to the spillage of blood as a draining of life force for the sake of his own agency and self-aggrandizement.
  • Analyzes how coleridge's interpretation of the mariner as an embodiment of life in death is more attributable to the polar spirit and its demons than to god.
  • Analyzes how coleridge uses the marginal glosses outlining the events of the rime of the ancient mariner to highlight the poem's continuous theme of understood surface versus unseen subtext, as well as imbue it with the gothic tension of past and present.

Throughout the poem, there are a number of allusions to the possibility that the Mariner is not altogether human and that while his life force may be sustained by a vengeance-seeking God, it may also be the work of a being far more ancient and potent that the God of Christianity. While it is clear throughout his tale that the Mariner is a pious and God fearing man and that he attributes his redemption to an acceptance of the value of all of God’s creatures, whether beautiful or ghastly, the supernatural figures that the Mariner interacts with within his tale have more in common with pagan, or even demonic spirituality than with that of Christianity. Coleridge’s marginal glosses make it clear that while the Mariner believes it is God’s wrath he is dealing with after his slaying the Albatross, as evidenced in the text of the poem itself, it is rather a Polar Spirit and those affiliated with the climates and elements of the earth that are actually seeking retribution for his …show more content…

Though the interpretation that the Mariner’s cursed immortal life is an accursed state of penance for his lack of reverence for one of God’s creatures could certainly be made given Coleridge’s clear vested interest in deny the explained supernatural as attributed to the divine, it is more likely that the Mariner’s governed by a force more ancient and, in a manner of speaking, more holistic than the God of Christianity. The Mariner’s rationale behind killing the Albatross is certainly rather ambiguous as Coleridge seems to give little credence to the event itself in the grand scheme of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner I interpret the Mariner’s subtextual motivations not as an effort on Coleridge’s behalf to showcase an instance of spiting God, but rather as a moment of mankind’s ill-advised assertion of dominance over the natural world. This harkens back to philosophies of Thomas Burnet from Archaeologiae philosophicae in which it is suggested that the writing, publication, and widespread popularity of the Bible is an effort on the part of humankind of assert dominance over the unknown through crafting a Creation mythology. Later in The Rime, when the Mariner is surrounded by

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