Natural Descriptions in Coleridge's and Lord Byron's Texts Essay

Natural Descriptions in Coleridge's and Lord Byron's Texts Essay

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Natural Descriptions in Coleridge's and Lord Byron's Texts
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Two closely related texts, one that we've studied in this class and one that we haven't, that handle natural description differently are Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and Lord Byron's "Manfred." Both of these texts' central characters have experienced trauma, and their portrayal of their environments reveal the effects that the events have left on them. While Coleridge's mariner is unable to consolidate his past and is relegated to constantly relive it, Byron's Manfred has protected himself from his unnamed vice by distancing himself from his feelings and environment. Obvious parallels exist between the poems, but what I found most striking was the way the narrator illustrates the events and how they result from their mode of handling the traumatic events.

The Mariner comes to terms with killing the albatross, and consequently killing his crewmates, by repeatedly voicing his guilt. His description of the souls passing him "like the whiz of [his] crossbow," (l 224) assumption that telling his tale to the hermit will "wash away/ The albatross' blood," (ll 512-13) and expression that "The pang, the curse, with which they died/ Had never passed away" (ll 438-39) shows how the mariner can never accept his actions and alleviate his guilt. I think that it's natural for people to want to come to terms with their past actions in order to better accept one's present state of self, which is why the mariner continually attempts to reconcile his past. The mariner is unable to accomplish this by telling others his story.

His descriptions of the story's retelling are affected by his lack of reconciliation. He projects himself into the land...


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...o the heavens, and the earth to Mont Blanc which is described as the "monarch of mountains" (1.1 60). The spirits are influential in the stories prominently for the two characters, which reflect the preoccupations and processes of dealing with their traumas.

Lastly, the realization that the environment is subjective, due to the power that the mind holds. As Manfred acknowledges, "The mind which is immortal makes itself / Requital for its good or evil thoughts" (3.4 129-130). This originally appears in Milton's Paradise Lost, implying that it's the mind that creates the heaven or the hell. And although Manfred's view on the mind is dark, and very sceptical, he does realize the creative power available to the subject. This same power is expressed in in their descriptions of nature and is influenced by the methods that they go through in dealing with their trauma.

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