Christian and Biblical References Hidden Within “the Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

1802 Words Apr 5th, 2012 8 Pages
Mike Peirce
Professor: Mahlika Hopwood
Text & Context: Imagination and Reality
Due: March 8th, 2012

Christian and Biblical References Hidden Within “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

Christian and Biblical references have been involved in the craft of writing since the birth of religion; or at earliest, the composition of the Bible. Biblical Symbolism in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, which was written in 1797, has been widely discussed throughout literary history. Although critics have come up with many different interpretations of this poem, one idea that has remained prevalent throughout these discussions is the apparent religious symbolism present throughout this poem. The Ancient
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/ Day after day, day after day, / We stuck, not breath nor motion; / As idle as a painted ship / Upon a painted ocean.” (Lines 107).
The section of the poem after the Mariner kills the Albatross is a description of the emptiness and desolation that the Mariners experience, and the curse that is over the ship. This section of the poem has tremendous correspondence to the apocalyptic story. The language and form in this part of the poem represents the images and words, which have traditionally described the wrath of God and the guilt of man in Christian terms. Continuing through the poem one stanza reads, “The souls did from their bodies fly - / They fled to bliss or woe! / And every soul, it pass’d me by / Like the whizz of my crossbow!” (Line 220). It is at this point in the poem that the Mariner feels the guilt for having killed the Albatross and the deaths of his shipmates. As the Mariner begins to realize the repercussions of his actions he begins to transform. At this point in time the Mariner is beginning to touch the hands of God; he is beginning to see the beauty in all of God’s creatures and the significance of life. Preceding this realization the Mariner begins his transformation as stated above; he understands the curse of the Albatross and the reasons for the death of his crew. His actions haunt him and death appears the only way out. “An orphan’s curse would drag to hell / A spirit

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