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Biblical Smbolism in "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by: Chris N.

Uploaded by voodoochild_jb on Nov 13, 2005

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," written in 1797, has been widely discussed throughout literary history. In this story, the Mariner and his crew travel around the world and then back to England. 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 story. "The Ancient Mariner" contains natural, gothic, and biblical symbolism; however, the religious and natural symbolism, which coincide with one another, play the most important roles in this poem. It is the apocalyptic and natural symbolism that dominates the core of this epic tale (Piper 43). Coleridge’s use of symbolism offers a unique and supernatural feel to his work. This tale of an old sailor illustrates a love dilemma while using biblical references.

The biblical symbolism found in this poem mainly reflects the Apocalypse, as it deals with the Mariner's revelation that good will triumph over evil, and his acceptance of all nature as God's creation. The poem's ship is symbolic of the body of man. Just as man experiences everyday setbacks and emotions, the ship must endure everyday issues, as well. The ship carries the Mariner and his crew, just as the body carries the soul. From this analogy, one can correlate that the Mariner and his crew symbolize the spirit of man. Coleridge makes an important point when he stresses the fact that no matter how skillfully man steers a boat, the boat's fate depends upon the winds and currents. Therefore, according to Coleridge, enjoying life's greatest things, such as love, is more important than mastering a skill. It is impossible to believe that Coleridge was not thinking of the mysterious wind that blows on the Mariner, without any awareness of the wind as a Biblical symbol of the Holy Spirit. Coleridge could also not associate the murder of the albatross with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The reader is told that the Polar Spirit “loved the bird that loved the man who shot him with his bow.” It is doubtful that someone with Coleridge's Christian background and faith could fail to see here an analogy with God who loved his son who loved the men that killed him (Coleridge 169). When the Mariner impulsively kills...

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Uploaded by:   voodoochild_jb

Date:   11/13/2005

Category:   Poems

Length:   7 pages (1,464 words)

Views:   2164

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