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Ancient Mariner

“Look out Below!” – Craaack! About 15 Men and women turn their glances toward the sky, and see a large, perhaps 100 feet, tree falling to the ground. As the tree hits the solid earth, everything grows very quiet. All look at the lumberjack, who killed this tree, and find him weeping in sorrow. This situation is not uncommon when dealing with Nature. Nature, as simple as it seems to some, generates great power. This power is sent to us, as nature forgives only after a physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering. “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” helps implement all these teachings together. In current times, this power continues to teach us of forgiveness.

With physical suffering, the power of nature shows us forgiveness many ways. In the story, the mariner betrays nature: “I shot the Albatross!” This action against nature is rather extreme, for he takes lightly to this thought of death. The Albatross, as a representative of nature, means nothing to the Mariner. These thoughts are quickly changed, though, as Nature begins to start the penance leading towards forgiveness – “Water, water, everywhere nor any drop to drink.” When “the mariner begins to find his salvation when he begins to look on the slimy things as creatures of strange beauty” (Fraser 203), he understands the Albatross was a symbol of nature and he realized what he had done wrong. The mariner is forgiven after sufficient penance – “We could not speak” – is performed by Nature. Nature shows us more strength as we realize that people of today often can not forgive someone who has shot or killed another person.

At a spiritual level, Nature s power can decide if we will live, or be condemned. Nature is capable of presenting “innermost suffering” (Coburn 33) upon people. The mariner s suffering included having his “soul in agony” soon afterwards. After attempts at prayer and realization of what he has done – “I looked to heaven and tried to pray”, his penance to forgiveness begins spiritually. The mariner releases the weight of the crime greatly at the “moment he could pray”. “The albatross around the mariner s neck was an emblem of an inner state” (Fraser 204), as it “fell off and sank”, the mariner was forgiven. Guilt follows many of us throughout our lives today as we do brash things and taunt with Nature. Yet with these brash things we do, Nature continues to forgive us.

At an emotional level, our emotions are important factors for pennance from Nature. The mariner took for granted the love Nature had for him. All around his ship, he witnessed “slimy things did crawl with legs upon the slimy sea” and he questioned “the curse in the Dead man s eyes”. This shows his contempt for the creatures that Nature provides for all of us. The mariner begins to find his salvation when he “begins to look on the slimy things as creatures of strange beauty” (Coburn 34). The mariner s experience represents a “renewal of the impulse of love towards other living things.” (Fraser 206). Even Today, many people look upon Nature in a similar way as that of the Mariner, not loving it. But Nature always forgives those people.

Nature is a powerful element. Using it s physical, spiritual and emotional leveled powers, it can help teach us to focus on life and love. Today, nature is present all around us as living animals. These animals, when taken care of properly, return the care as love and help each of us to live long lives because of it. Love is an important aspect in human life, without it we can die lonely. With love, we die with all that is around us.


Fraser, G.S. A Short History of English Poetry. Barnes & Noble Books. Totowa, New Jersey.

Coburn, Kathleen. Coleridge. Prentice-Hall Inc. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

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