Rime of the Ancient Mariner Nature Essay

This essay has a total of 1660 words and 7 pages.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner Nature



Rime of the Ancient Mariner Nature


Near the end of the eighteenth century began a new ideology and writing style that conveys
the poet's ideas through nature. This revolutionary style began by men like Samuel Taylor
Coleridge and William Wordsworth were centuries ahead of their time in their attitudes on
the environment, communion with nature, and the common man. Drawing heavily upon the
French Revolution, these writers broke from society and focused their writing on the
common man living in rural settings, a very revolutionary idea for the day. According to
Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his Biographia Literaria, "subjects were to be chosen from
ordinary life; the characters and incidents were to be such, as will be found in every
village and its vicinity..." (1). Romanticism is anti-social, and in keeping with that
theme, they wanted to escape the dominant ideology of the period. Coleridge was a man,
unlike Wordsworth, oppressed by society and culture. In his brilliant career, he had many
monetary problems and possibly even drug addiction, and for this reason he rebels against
his own ideology, Romanticism. In his poem, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", he does the
unthinkable by allowing "Mother Nature" to defeat man. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's, "The
Rime of the Ancient Mariner", embodies the ideals of Romantic poetry with an emphasis on
nature, the supernatural, and a conflict between man and nature.


As with all Romantic works, including, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", nature is
emphasized throughout and becomes a recurring theme. The albatross is very important in
keeping with this theme. His life is senselessly taken by the Ancient Mariner. In the
Mariner's mind the albatross was the cause of all the ship's misfortunes. The Mariner and
his shipmates were bombarded by a powerful storm which "was tyrannous and strong" ("Rime"
2), eventually driving them to the South Pole where they became in lodged in the ice.
Blaming this drastic change of events on the albatross, the Ancient Mariner, "with my
cross-bow/I shot the albatross" ("Rime" 4). The Mariner's shipmates cursed him for
committing such a "hellish thing." But after the slaying, the fog cleared and the breeze
began to blow. The Mariner's shipmates then praised him, believing the albatross was the
cause of the ship's troubles on the sea. Soon after this senseless killing, "Mother
Nature" avenges the albatross's death. She pushes the ship off into what seems as an
endless ocean, without any water to quench the crew's parched mouths. In the crews disgust
with the Ancient Mariner, they tie the carcass of the dead albatross around his neck to
punish him for this awful crime on nature. The crew, then realizes the albatross brought
good fortune and luck, which broke the ship away from the ice and back into friendlier
waters. Because of the Mariner's lack of respect for God's creatures, "Mother Nature" puts
a curse on him, forever walking the Earth telling his tale. Nature revolts against man
several times, and each time nature claims its dominance over a manly society. The Mariner
understands that nature can equate to chaos, so he must respect every move "Mother Nature"
makes.

Nature is very important to the Romantics, and in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", God's
creatures are very important in upholding these ideals. To enforce his theme on nature,
Samuel Taylor Coleridge integrates the water-snakes into his poem. The water-snakes are an
innocent representation of nature and God's creatures. The Mariner sees the water-snakes
out beyond his ship and gazes in amazement at the beauty of nature. In this instance, he
blesses the water-snakes and the evil spell which has been cast upon his ship is lifted.
The Mariner comes to realize the significance of the sea snakes, that they too, are
important to nature.

The ocean, when speaking of nature, is very important to the Mariner. The ocean is a way
of life for the Mariner, depending on it for survival. The Mariner does not come to
realize the significance of the sea until he is cursed, his way of life completely
vanishing from the Earth. Many men, not just the Mariner, depend on nature to provide a
living. But ironically, "women are being identified or symbolically associated with
nature, as opposed to men, who are identified with culture" ("female to male" 496).
Because men are identified with culture, they have a "natural" tendency to not appreciate
nature, or as in the case of the Mariner, possibly wanting to dominate it.


The extensive use of the supernatural is Coleridge's way of conveying to the people how
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