Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Essay

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Essay

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge's “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” seems like a simple story of a man lost at sea and defeating the odds, but if you hone in on the visual and aural details you see that it’s much more. The whole story revolves around the theme of religious transformation and Coleridge uses these visual and aural symbols to convey and drive home this theme.
He starts the story immediately with a lot of detail creating the setting of where the mariner is going and to whom the mariner is going to tell his tale. He chooses three men on their way to a wedding and one in particular we know as the “wedding guest.” When we think of a wedding we think of a happy event where two people are united under the grace of god. The mariner stops him from going in this event though and tells him the story, at the end of which he tells him that he doesn't need anything but god to be happy. The detail and emphasis of the wedding symbolizes temporary happiness on earth. The mariner explains that loving god and having him in your life is “Oh sweeter than the marriage feast, 'Tis sweeter far to me” (Coleridge, lines 86-87). Here the mariner is saying that the temporary happiness on earth that one may get from a marriage celebration is nice but it is nowhere near as good as the love of god you get from making a religious transformation. Coleridge explains all of the sing and drinking and happiness going on in the wedding as the mariner is telling the story but in the end the mariner tells the guest that none of that is as good as the love of god. And we can see that wedding guest actually learns something from the story because he decides to not go into the wedding but rather “and now the wedding-guest. Turned from the bridegroom's door. He went ...


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...t in their god. The wedding guest listens to this descriptive story and goes home and is a smarter man for it and Coleridge hopes his readers read the story and get the same result.
Overall “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is poem that seems like a simple story told by a sailor about his woes at sea. But Coleridge uses many details to make symbols throughout the story for the reader to interpret and see the connections between it and religion. Whether it be through the Christ like albatross, which most would just see as a simple bird, or the woman on the boat showing how the lifestyle might be fun but ultimate leads to nothing we see that these small details create a bigger story than what is just on the cover.



Works Cited

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (text of 1834)." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

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