Of The Ancient Mariner

Samuel Taylor Coleridge\'s poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,"
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

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 (Piper 43). It is apocalyptic and natural symbolism
that dominates the core of this poem (43). 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. 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 Coleridgeís Christian background and
faith could fail to see here an analogy with God who loved his son who loved the
men that killed him (Gardner 169). Another example of symbolism is the fact that
the albatross is hung around the Marinerís neck like a crucifix. Event the"cross" in "cross-bow" hints at the murder of Jesus, which logically
paces the albatross as a symbol for Christ (180). It is thought that Coleridge
deliberately created these symbols and images with Christian meaning in mind.

The apocalypse is heavily reflected upon throughout this poem as Coleridge
combined the vivid colors, the ocean, and the death fires of "The Ancient

Mariner" with the terror and desolation of the days of wrath in the apocalypse
(Piper 48). 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 (103-127). This section of the poem has
tremendous correspondence to the apocalyptic story. The language and form in
this part of the poem represent the images and words, which have traditionally
described the wrath of God and the guilt of man in Christian terms. Its is at
this point in the poem that the Mariner feels guilty for having killed the

Albatross and for the deaths of his shipmates. However, it is directly after
this description that the Mariner observes the beauty of the water snakes and
forms a respect for the presence of God in nature. In this poem Coleridge uses
the wrath and guilt of the apocalypse, but adds his own ideas of divine love and
conversion, which lead to paradise. Even thought the Mariner must continue with
his penance, he is free of Godís wrath and is able to appreciate and love all
of nature as Godís creation. Throughout this poem there are many examples of
biblical symbolism in nature. Coleridge uses different elements of nature, such
as the sea, as symbols of religious thought or beliefs. The sea is where the
decisive events, the moments of eternal choice, temptation, and redemption occur
(Piper 49). While at sea, the Mariner makes the eternal choice to kill the

Albatross. This choice is eternal because once the Mariner has committed the act
of murder, there is nothing that he can do to change it. As a result of the

Marinerís decision, a curse falls over the ship and the Mariner is sentenced
to eternal penance. The eternal penance that he must serve is a reminder to the

Mariner of the choice that he made. However, even after the death of his soul,
the Mariner experiences redemption when he recognizes and learns to love all

Godís creations. It is a known fact that Coleridgeís thoughts and feelings
where rarely affected by his beliefs, especially the apocalypse. The apocalyptic
story deals with Godís freeing the soul of man from the pains of sin and
death, and lifting it into paradise. After the Mariner kills the albatross, he
feels as if he is under some sort of curse (Harding 146). However, the Mariner
goes through as conversion, which thus releases his soul from the pains of sin
and death so that he can once again obtain happiness. There are two essential
steps in the conversion process. The first step occurs when imaginative powers
mythological appearances of