Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

2027 words - 9 pages

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 like one that hath been stunned, And is of sense forlorn: A sadder and a wiser man, He rose the morrow morn” (lines 106-111). The wedding-guest sounds as though he also makes a religious transformation from this story in the end skipping the wedding and going home and going to bed, and waking up a more enlightened person.
We can also see a lot of detail emphasized in the story he is actually telling on the albatross. We see immediately that he gives the albatross human like qualities when he first introduces it in part one when he writes “At length did cross an albatross, Thorough the fog it came; As if it had been a Christian soul, We hailed it in God's name” (line 63-66). As soon as he uses these human like details to describe the albatross we know that it is symbol of something. The albatross may not have been the reason the ship was able to get out of the ice but it became a symbol of good thing because once it arrived the ship reached safety. The albatross took on a Christ like persona. The albatross was even pinned around the mariner’s neck like Christ was nailed to the cross. The albatross lived a sinless life and was the figure that “led” the boat out of the ice or was thought to be a good luck charm by the...

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