But, to be frank, the consequences of shooting the albatross seem almost worse than death. As a persecuted figure of salvation, the albatross resembles Christ in many ways, especially when you consider that a bird often symbolizes Christ.
The poem begins with a description of the Mariner, and immediately attention is drawn to his eyes, and his power to hold the Wedding Guest and force the young man to hear his tale.
Here, storytelling needs no introduction, as the Mariner simply starts speaking and begins the story. Active Themes Related Quotes with Explanations The Mariner then launches into the story of his experiences at sea, describing how the ship itself launched into the sea and sailed southward—he indicates the direction by describing the path of the sun.
There he and the other Sailors are surrounded by ice, mist, and snow. There is a complete lack of life, but also a sense of the sublime in the vast icebergs and glaciers they pass.
The only noise is the haunting sound of ice cracking all around the ship. The powerful storm and the dangerous beauty of the South Pole exhibit the essence of the Romantic ideal of the sublime.
The storm overpowers the ship and forces it to the Pole, where it meets potential peril from the ice. But the mist and snow are also terrifyingly beautiful and majestic. Active Themes This silence and lack of life is broken, however, by an Albatross, which the crew hails as if it were a Christian, and believes to be a sign of good luck.
They feed the bird, which follows them and visits to eat and play, and the Sailors all rejoice at the newly blowing wind which they attribute to the bird that allows them to begin heading north again.
Since the Albatross materializes out of the fog in a land where it seems nothing should be able to live, it is seen as both natural and supernatural, and an embodiment of the sublime. For the Sailors, it is a token of good luck and a means of connection with God and the natural world.
But amidst this joyous celebration of the bird, the Wedding Guest suddenly interjects into the story, revealing that while telling this part of his tale the Mariner looks like he is greatly plagued by fiends.
The Mariner then shares his tragic mistake and great sin without giving any indication of the reason he did it: This unexplained killing sets in motion the cycle of sin and penance the Mariner must undergo. It is first and foremost a crime against the natural world, and thus against God, for which the Mariner will never be fully absolved.
Another way to view this attack on the bird is as another failed attempt to assert the mundane over the sublime. With this idea comes the notion that by killing the bird, the Mariner was fulfilling the constant human desire to interpret.
The Albatross was once ethereal, natural and supernatural, crossing boundaries and exhibiting qualities of both worlds, but by killing it the Mariner forces a singular interpretation on it: Nature and the supernatural world will then punish the Mariner for his sin and for his misguided effort to interpret a bird that resists interpretation.
Also note that the Albatross is killed by a cross-bow—adding Christ-like imagery to its death.LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. A summary of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” Parts I-IV in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Coleridge’s Poetry.
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Shmoop guide to The Albatross in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The Albatross analysis by PhD students from Stanford, Harvard, and Berkeley The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Home / Poetry / The Rime of the Ancient Mariner / Literary Devices / Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay / The Albatross ;. Samuel Taylor Coleridge used many archaic spellings in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." The word "rime" refers both to a "rhyme" or poem and to a kind of frost that the Mariner encountered on.
Coleridge maintained that his use of a loose rhyme scheme and archaic language in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" was deliberate and scholarly, intended to provoke thought about the use of such devices and invoke a sort of literary timelessness.
Literary Devices in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Coleridge uses various poetic devices in his lyric ballad. These include alliteration, assonance, consonance and onomatopoeia.