Essay Christianity in rime of the Ancient Mariner

Essay Christianity in rime of the Ancient Mariner

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Christianity in rime of the Ancient Mariner

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, penned by Samuel Coleridge, and
published for the first time in 1798 in the co-authored “Lyrical
Ballads” with William Wordsworth, is a poem in which an old sailor
recounts his tales to a young wedding guest. The tale of the old
seafarer was so unbelievable and supernatural, that the wedding guest
and all others who hear the tale are captivated and, as Coleridge
suggests, listen “like a three years’ child” (15). Embedded through
the Mariner’s tale is a story that resembles the Christianesque path
from sin to salvation. Throughout his poem, Coleridge uses the
Albatross as a Christ-like figure to illustrate the stages of the
Mariner’s sin, repentance, salvation, and prostelization.

Before the Albatross finds the sailors, they are frozen in the sea in
the Antarctic Circle. When the sailors spot the bird, they believe it
will bring them good fortune as Coleridge illustrates in lines 63-66:

At length did cross an Albatross

Through the fog it came;

As if it had been a Christian soul,

We hail’d it in God’s name (63-66).

Sure enough, the Albatross saves the sailors by breaking up the ice
surrounding their ship and allowing them to float freely in the
water. The bird saved the sailors as Jesus Christ saved mankind from
a sinful destruction. Coleridge uses words of religious significance
like “Christian soul” (65) and “God’s name” (66) to describe the
coming of the Albatross. These words invoke a sense of grandeur and
power in the Albatross giving it a feeling of omnipotence. As the
sailors are freed from their earthly bonds of ice, the Mariner, in
lines 68-70 explains: And round and round it flew./The ice did split
with a ...


... middle of paper ...


...from the freezing bonds of
death. The Mariner is wrought with jealousy and human sin and kills
the Albatross. As a representation of his sin, the Mariner must wear
the Albatross around his neck as an ever-present reminder of his sin
and lack of worthiness, much like Christians were crosses around their
necks even today. After the Mariner realizes his the value of all
creatures big and small and speaks a true prayer seeking of heart-felt
repentance, the Albatross breaks free and the Mariner feels forgiven
and free. Now, the Mariner continues his feeling of forgiveness by
paying penance for the remainder of his days recounting to all, his
tale of the dangers of sin to all who will listen, including the
wedding guest and the Christian hermit. With each guest who listens
to the tale of his forgiveness, the Mariner feels like a more complete
and better person.

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