Rime of Ancient Mariner Essay

Rime of Ancient Mariner Essay

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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a complex tale of an old seafarer, was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and published in 1798. According to the Longman Anthology of British Literature, the work first appeared in “Lyrical Ballads”, a publication co-authored with William Wordsworth (557). The ancient mariner’s journey provides for such a supernatural tale, that all who must hear it, specifically the wedding guest in the poem, are enthralled. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the mariner’s tale is the obvious themes of sin and redemption. By using the story-within-a-story method, Coleridge gives the audience a tale that resembles a very Christian-like voyage from one theme, sin, to the final theme, redemption. Throughout his poem, Coleridge uses the albatross as a Christ-like figure and illustrates the stages of the mariner’s spiritual journey through themes of sin, punishment, repentance, and redemption.
According to Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.” Coleridge uses this idea of humanity’s sinful nature as a major theme in his Romantic work. The author begins the mariner’s fateful story with his ship’s departure from his homeland. As the days go by, the mariner and his shipmates encounter ferocious storms before finally finding themselves surrounded by a land where “Nor shapes of men nor beast we ken --/ The ice was all between” (Coleridge ll. 57-58).
Just when it seemed that all hope was lost, the crew spots an albatross emerging from the fog. The sailors, desperate for any sign of good fortune, immediately deem the great sea-bird as a positive sign from God. With the albatross comes a great wind from the South, pushing the ship away from its icy trap, “As if it had been a Christian so...


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... it seems as though he will live forever through his legacy. For even if the mariner were to die, his warning about the symbolic killing of an albatross would carry far beyond a grave.
“He prayeth best, who loveth best/All things both great and small;/ For the dear God who loveth us,/ He made and loveth all” (Coleridge ll. 614-617).



Works Cited

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The Longman Anthology of British
Literature: Vol. 2A, Fourth Edition. Ed. David Damrosch and Kevin Dettmar. Boston:
Longman, 2010. 567-82. Print.
The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Vol. 2A, Fourth Edition. Ed. David Damrosch
and Kevin Dettmar. Boston: Longman, 2010. Print.
Harent, Stéphane. "Original Sin." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert
Appleton Company, 1911. 1 Mar. 2012 . Web.

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