The Rime of the Ancient Mariner vs Frankenstein: Character Choices, Themes, Storylines

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Correlations Between Frankenstein and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

As a child, Mary Shelley stayed up late listening to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s horrific poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” This may be why Shelley’s Frankenstein parallels Coleridge’s poem in character choice, theme, and storyline. Victor and The Mariner both commit a moral crime, and must realise the gravity of their consequences. Their past experiences root a personal objective; to share their struggles in hopes of teaching a valuable lesson.

Victor and The Mariner have the ability to strongly engage and alter a person with their convincing woes. When Walton sails the seas and comes across Victor, he seems to have the inability to turn away from the story of Victor’s misfortunes. Walton “felt great eagerness to hear the promised narrative, partly from curiosity, and partly from a strong desire to ameliorate his fate.” Walton not only wants to know the content of Victor’s adversity, but better Victor’s destiny. The Mariner also has a way of intriguing a Wedding Guest by “[holding] him with his glittering eye. The Wedding Guest stood still… he beat his breast, yet he cannot choose but hear.” The Mariner seems to hypnotise the Wedding Guest. With their powerful magnetism, both Victor and The Mariner leave their listeners with a changed outlook. After hearing Victor’s story, Walton turns away from this polar explorations. He realises that his quest for knowledge is not worth the potential turbulence. Concurrently, the Wedding Guest becomes “a sadder and a wiser man,” after listening to The Mariner’s story. Walton and the Wedding Guest are internally changed after hearing the story-tellers’ misadventures.

The stories of both Victor and The Mariner entail careless deeds that have many horrible reciprocations. Victor creates a creature from the remains of other bodies. When this creature comes to life, Victor abandons it. Not only does Victor become extremely ill after this occurrence, but the creature ends up killing Victor’s own brother. Comparably, The Mariner kills an Albatross, that has been circling his ship for many days. The Albatross is religiously known to be a good omen. Once The Mariner uses his crossbow to end the Albatross’ life, “every tongue, through utter drought, was withered at the root… water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” Along with thirst and drought, storms raging with harsh winds, fog and mist hit The Mariner’s ship as well. Eventually, The Mariner’s whole crew withers into hovering ghosts. The consequences of both deeds are very extreme.

Victor and The Mariner have both gone through horrible circumstances but believe they lived through them for a reason; to teach a lesson. With their intense ability to captivate, Victor and The Mariner have changed their listeners in a mind-altering way. They could not have achieved such perspective modification without their tales of affliction and sorrow. When writing Frankenstein, Mary Shelley was undoubtedly influenced by “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”

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