Coleridges The Ancient Mariner is about an abstracted sea captain who seems fated to roll through the sea on a ocean trip filled with agony and compunction. Throughout the tests the seaman faces, it becomes apparent that Coleridge ‘s lay is, on one degree, an allegorical narrative of an internal battle. Although it is impossible to cognize whether the sea ocean trip was strictly allegorical or whether it was really intended to be taken literally every bit good as figuratively, it is certain that the narrative can be read either manner. This paper will analyse “ The Ancient Mariner ” in footings of its overarching construction of guilt, so shame, so salvation, finally uncovering the verse form to be an informative narrative about the human struggles that about everyone must meet at some point in their lives.
The seaman ‘s journey begins on an unfortunate note. Equally shortly as the seaman takes off on his ocean trip, he strikes problem. Many who have read Coleridge ‘s text return this immediate work stoppage of problem to be grounds that the ocean trip is metaphorical. Crawford is such a individual, and he describes the beginning of “ The Ancient Mariner ” in this manner: “ The Mariner starts out on the ocean trip of life, merely to happen himself at one time acquiring into all kinds of problem. This seems symbolic of the wickednesss that overtake work forces in life ” ( Crawford 311 ) . Yet the verse form can besides be read on a quite actual degree, sing Coleridge ‘s account of what happens to the seaman is rather accurate to how a existent seaman may hold experienced an particularly unsafe journey over the sea.
The verse form begins in a somewhat uneven topographic point. The seaman and three invitees are at a nuptials response. The description of the wedding response makes the ambiance of the lay experience something like an semblance. The tone makes the poem feel mesmerizing, which is why it is so easy to see the verse form as a metaphor: viz. , because at the start of this long lay, the scene feels about fantastical and otherworldly. The seaman topographic points grabs one of the nuptials invitees and holds him confined. His action seems thoughtless, and partly selfish. He wants person to state his narrative to. The nuptials invitee asks the seaman to let go of him, and the seaman does, but the nuptials invitee is transfixed by the seaman ‘s expression: “ by thy long gray face fungus and glistening oculus, now wherefore stopp’st thou me? ” ( Coleridge 1 ) . Content that he has person to listen to him, the seaman recalls his journey and depict how he, along with other seamans, sailed out of his native seaport. Again, although his journey can be read rather literally, it seems more likely that the seaman ‘s narrative is wholly metaphoric, and used for allegorical intents. He seems to desire to state his narrative to alleviate himself of the emphasis that a psychological journey has caused him, although if the verse form is besides read on a actual degree, so he wishes to state his narrative to alleviate himself of the emphasis that his actual journey has caused him. The seaman describes finally set downing on glacial land, where he sees an Albatross, or a sea bird. This experience seems to stand for a pleasant clip in the seaman ‘s life, before problem struck:
“ and a good South air current sprung up buttocks ;
The Albatross did follow,
and mundane, for nutrient or drama,
Came to the seaman ‘s bellow! ” ( Coleridge 2 )
Yet the seaman becomes irked by the bird, and finally going highly uneasy with it, decides to kill it. This sets off his internal battle with guilt, shame, and salvation. He feels guilty here foremost, over killing the bird. His shame overwhelms him and eventually he sets out to happen salvation, to purge him of his wickedness. Garrigues believes that this subject reveals how “ the verse form may be said to hold a two fold character: it may be considered either in a universal or in a peculiar sense- the Ancient Mariner may be represented life or a life ” ( Garrigues 329 ) . The seaman ‘s narrative could be the narrative of one individual adult male who struggled with the ailment determinations he made in his life, but it could besides be a narrative about how human life is full of repeat: full of failures and triumphs, of hurdlings and get the better ofing obstructions. Garrigues farther offers the position that “ The Ancient Mariner ” may be about the “ awful subject of civilization through which adult male must go through in order to make self-consciousness and self-government ” ( Garrigues 329 ) . Therefore, if this work is read on the degree of humanity as a whole, the job that creates the insistent rhythm of failure and salvation may be human nature itself. Garrigues suggests, “ It ‘s the job of the Original Sin. Man is, by nature, immorality, and his first witting, simply natural act, is needfully a wickedness against the religious ” ( Garrigues 330 ) . If Garrigues is right, and the job encountered is the job of human failing and immorality in the human bosom, so everyone should understand and associate to the seaman, holding encountered this job at one point or another themselves. As worlds, we frequently feel that we are in a changeless conflict between good and evil, “ each adult male must of himself work out his ain salvation ; he must himself fix the manner for that regeneration which is promised triumph over wickedness and decease ” ( Garrigues 330 ) . And this is the battle that the seaman goes through in his narrative.
Garrigues describes the period of coming to footings with a wickedness as “ the period of unconsciousness, of the arrant indifference of the Me and Not -me ; when the Me begins to be witting of its being through the force per unit area upon it of the Not-me, adulthood is reached, at whatever age ” ( Garrigues 329 ) . This is what Garrigues sees in the seaman ‘s narrative. He sees a human being making adulthood since he eventually understands that things have changed because of his actions, and he must now alter with them, breaking himself. Garrigues would place this as the specifying minute of the seaman ‘s narrative, the minute where the seaman reaches adulthood and accepts guilt and duty:
“ God save thee, ancient Mariner,
from the monster that plague thee therefore! –
why look’st 1000 so? – “ with my crossbow
I shot the Albatross ” ( Coleridge 2 )
Here the storyteller of the narrative presents the seaman in a sympathetic tone, one that allows the reader to acknowledge the wickedness the seaman has committed, yet non keep it against him. The reader is invited to experience a great trade of empathy and chumminess toward the seaman. The wretchedness that plagues the seaman is recognized, and the seaman is portrayed as something of a tragic hero. He recognizes his offense and is suffering for holding committed it. He wants salvation and so goes on a kind of pursuit to make this salvation. He is ready to populate with the guilt until he has attained this absolution, even if it takes him the remainder of his life:
“ And I had done a beastly thing,
and it would work ’em sufferings:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
that made the zephyr to blow.
Ah wretch! Said they, the bird to murder,
That made the zephyr to blow ” ( Coleridge 2 )
The seaman recognizes his guilt and takes full duty for it. He is ashamed for what he has done. He recognizes that he must alter his behavior and go better. He must atone. Guarrigues believes that “ it was [ Coleridge ‘s ] purpose, [ aˆ¦ ] to show the Fall from the artlessness of ignorance, from the immediateness of natural religion ; and the return, through the mediation of wickedness and uncertainty, to witting virtuousness and belief ” ( Garrigues 329 ) . He therefore believes that the verse form in its entireness mirrors the scriptural Adam and Eve narrative, where the twosome falls from grace and artlessness to a province of wickedness, so redeems themselves through difficult work and the attainment of virtuousness through a witting attempt. If this narrative genuinely is a mirror of the scriptural autumn of Adam and Eve, so the seaman ‘s narrative is non the narrative of an single, but of the full human race, which would in its entireness go through the rhythm of falling into wickedness, seeking for, achieving salvation, so falling once more.
Coleridge ‘s words are carefully crafted throughout this verse form. In the subdivision after this citation, he systematically uses the word “ bellow, ” which seems like a perfect contemplation of how empty and sorrowful the seaman is. The word besides sounds a great trade like the call of a bird, and so the repeat of “ hollo ” may hold been made to sound like a acrimonious reminder of the offense that was committed, the shade of the bird. “ Hollo ” besides sounds unusually similar to the word “ hello ” or “ hullo, ” which is reminiscent of the seaman ‘s changeless hunt for attending. The seaman desires the attending of anyone who is willing to listen to his convulsion: for illustration, the nuptials invitee, and here, God.
Coleridge takes readers through the seaman ‘s phases of guilt,
“ ” ah! Well-a-day! What evil expressions
had I from old and immature!
Alternatively of the cross, the Albatross
About my cervix was hung ” ” ( Coleridge 3 )
This transition illustrates the load the seaman feels upon himself for holding killed the Albratross. His cervix being “ hung ” can besides be interrupted as a religious decease, since he has fallen from grace. When he is eventually able to turn up a ship header towards the land, as an act of selflessness and penitence, he bites down on his arm, sucking the blood to wash the his lingua so that he can shout out to the others that there is aid on the manner:
“ Fear at my bosom, as at a cup,
my life-blood seemed to sip!
The stars were subdued, and thick the dark,
The helmsman ‘s face by his lamp gleamed white ” ( Coleridge 3 )
He is genuinely contrite for what he has done. In the 2nd half of the verse form, as the Mariner continues stating his narrative to the nuptials invitee, the seaman describes how the ship moved back and Forth. He describes the state of affairs like the sea was playing a game of tug-of-war with the ship. This convulsion can be interpreted as the contemplation of his internal battle, his battle against his ain guilt to happen salvation. When he breaks free from the boat, he falls to the deck, which seems to stand for some kind of freedom and absolution has been attained:
“ so like a pawing Equus caballus, allow travel,
she made a sudden edge:
it flung the blood into my caput,
and I fell down in a swound. ” ( Coleridge 6 )
Here, the seaman encounters two different voices that are both a portion of him. One voice inquiries if he was the 1 that killed the Albatross, while the 2nd announces that the seaman will hold to execute more repentance before his wickednesss are rectified. The seaman regains consciousness. “ I woke ” ( Coleridge 6 ) , he says all of a sudden.
The seaman seems a new individual after he utters these two simple words. Garrigues believes that there is a definite alteration: “ He is done now and everlastingly with all enervating sorrow ; he leaves to the past its dead ; the present claims him. He ceases to believe of what he has been and attempts to decide what he shall be ; but still “ in fright and apprehension, ” the new way is all unseasoned, and his past erros have deprived him of assurance ” ( Garrigues 336 ) . Garrigues believes that the seaman has been redeemed. And it so seems as though he is. “ Is this mine ain countree? ” ( Coleridge 7 ) , the seaman asks. The seaman ‘s internal battle seems to hold come to an terminal. He has been “ freed from all ownerships, he returns himself ” ( Garrigues 336 ) .
Of class, whether or non this salvation is short lived is another inquiry. Yes, the seaman does look to hold repented and been atoned through his penitence for his wickedness. Yet when he commits another wickedness, this procedure will hold to reiterate itself. Although this is true, within his narrative, the seaman is redeemed. He is relieved plenty to state his narrative. He is no longer ashamed, wanting to conceal his wickedness from the universe, but actively pursues the nuptials invitee to state his narrative to. He wants to portion his calamity and his salvation, and so he does.
Therefore, in “ The Ancient Mariner, ” Coleridge has delivered a strongly symbolic lay that represents the autumn and the rise of a great adult male. Although the narrative can be read on a actual degree, it is much more meaningful to read it as an fable, a symbol of the battles of an person, or humanity as a whole, to deliver itself from wickedness. The seaman finds interior peace through his attainment of salvation, and although it may be short lived, until he commits another wickedness and repeats the form of guilt, shame, and salvation one time once more, it is still redemption however.