Omens in Nature (A Comparison of Coleridge’s Albatross and Poe’s Raven as Poetic Symbols)

Omens in Nature (A Comparison of Coleridge’s Albatross and Poe’s Raven as Poetic Symbols)

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In many poems and other literary works, an animal or object is used to represent an emotion or foreshadow an omen. This use of symbolism gives the reader something to connect to and also make you think harder about the underlying message. For example, in the poem Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an Albatross bird is present in the story and makes a huge impact on the outcome. Also, in Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, a black Raven bothers the main character the whole poem for various reasons and means different things too. These two instances of the use of a mysterious symbolic bird in Rime of the Ancient Mariner and The Raven can be compared based on appearance, actions, and influence.
First of all, both symbols used in these poems can be compared according to their appearance. Both the raven and the albatross are birds. The albatross is described as a huge bird that soared over the ship as almost a godly symbol. The raven on the other hand is black as the night and has eyes that pierce into the soul. It also had a ghastly grim look to it that almost predicted something ominous. When this raven comes to the main character in The Raven, he is immediately frightened because of the stereotype of black birds bringing an evil omen.
In addition, the albatross of Rime of the Ancient Mariner and the raven from The Raven display similar actions in the poems. The albatross flies by the ship in the water and immediately brings good weather to the sailors, “And a good wind sprung up behind; the albatross did follow, and every day, for food or play, came to the mariner’s hollo!” (Lines 71-74) They then praise it, but once it is killed, horrible storms start, angering the mariners. The raven comes into play when the nar...


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Works Cited

Hallqvist, Christoffer. "Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven.'" Thepoedecorder.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2014. .
Lepore, Amy. "Why does the Mariner kill the albatross? What is the symbolic nature of the action?" Enotes.com. Enotes Inc., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014. .
Martin, Gary. "Albatross." The Phrase Finder. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014. .
Shmoop Editorial Team. "The Albatross in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2014. .
- - -. "The Raven." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2014. .

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