The Rime of the Ancient Mariner As a Parable Romantic Literature
The poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a poem about an ancient mariner who is repenting what he did one time. This man was on a voyage to Antarctica with many other sailors when one day they become stuck in the ice. This is problematic as the ship needs to move or else everyone on board will eventually die of lack of food or water. An albatross flies by the ship soon after the ship becomes stuck and it appears to be a guardian to the ship and all of the men on board it. Once the albatross appears, the ship miraculously starts to move and things are looking good for the ship. This keeps going on for several days until the ancient mariner just shoots it with his crossbow, killing it instantly. The poem progresses with what happens to the mariner and the crew after killing their “guardian.” This poem could read as a parable and also has many characteristics within it of romantic literature.
The poem goes on after the albatross is killed but it takes a turn for the worse. The whole crew of the ship dies quickly except for the mariner. He is the only survivor and now that the ship’s guardian has been killed, the ship becomes stuck once again but this time near the equator where it is very hot. One stanza within part three says,
“With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could nor laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail! A sail!”
This stanza shows that it is so hot that the men can’t even speak because they have become so burnt due to the intensity of the sun and that they need their own blood to speak. This also shows that the men could be getting punished for killing what was saving them. The albatross could have been a gift from God to return the men to safety and the mariner killed it for no reason. He killed one of God’s creations for no reason and thus is now being punished. The ancient mariner is basically tortured on the ship. The whole crew sees an evil ship which represents death and in turn all of the men except the mariner die one by one. The mariner also sees some supernatural occurrences go on around him while he is alone. He hears two voices in the night and one of them says, “The man hath penance done, and penance more will do.” This quote says that the mariner caused all of this to happen and he must repent his sins and ask for forgiveness. The mariner continues to remain on the ship for seven days. Then one day he is looking in the ocean and admires the creatures in the sea at which point the albatross falls off of his neck and sinks in the ocean. A boat soon appears and he is rescued. The mariner finally started to show care for God’s creations and he was saved. This poem is a parable because it was simple and it did teach a valuable life lesson which is to show care for God’s creations and to not harm them because they were not created for that purpose. People need to show care and compassion for things in life to show God that they truly care.
This poem also shows a large amount of characteristics of the average romantic literature piece. Romantic literature pieces often include things such as supernatural, strange and faraway places, and love of nature. Almost all of this poem is set in nature. It takes place on a ship and all around the ship is water. Several times throughout the poem it describes the water- both how it looks beautiful and how it looks evil. Storms and wind are also present a lot within this poem. The wind represents good as that is what makes the ship move back to shore. The natural things in the earth are greatly described within the poem such as the ice when they are first stuck. The quote, “And now there came both mist and snow. And it grew wondrous cold; And ice, mast-high, came floating by, as green as emerald” shows how the beauty of nature is focused upon. Far and strange places is a requirement that is met because the ship first starts off near the South Pole which is far away from home and then travels up toward the equator which is also far away and acts as a strange area of the world. There are many instances within this poem that there is supernatural. There is the ghost ship that contains death and the Life-in-Death, all of the men on the ship die one by one, the albatross acting as a “guardian” and the ship sinking as the mariner is being rescued. The quote in Part Three saying, “One after one, by the star-dogged Moon, too quick for groan or sigh, each turned his face with a ghastly pang, and cursed me with his eye.” is showing how each of the men knew he caused their death and that they wanted to give him one last evil look before dying. The most supernatural thing that happens is when the crew rises from the dead. Angels incarnate them and all of the dead men rise but their souls are gone so it is not really them. All of these characteristics are what makes a piece of writing fall into the romantic literature category.
The poem written Samuel Taylor Coleridge entitled “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is one that can be considered romantic literature and it contains a parable which is to care for things on the planet and don’t waste them. It is romantic literature because it contains the supernatural, faraway places and it describes nature while showing love for it. The moral of this story is a valuable one and should be used in everyday life. People need to show care for the earth that God created for us and not trash it like today in modern society. People need to take this lesson and apply it to their own life each day.
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