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Published: 16-09-2019

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A study of the theme of supernaturalism in The Rime of The Ancient Mariner by Coleridge

Poets in the Romantic period had been not preoccupied with purpose, in contrast to most of the intellectuals in the Eighteenth Century. Rather, they have been capable recognize the importance of non-rational processes in the thoughts. S.T. Coleridge was especially interested in the supernatural. As a result, the supernatural is a widespread theme in several of Coleridge’s poems. Scholar John Beer comments that Coleridge incorporated “magic” in his poetry, asking readers not to query its practicality. This is apparent in his poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, where Coleridge asks the readers to suspend disbelief in order to see the significance behind the supernatural or magical elements.

The energy of hypnosis or mesmerism is one of the principal supernatural themes in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The mariner is in a position to hold the wedding guest against his will, as if he has the power of hypnosis. “He holds him with his glittering eye– The Wedding-Guest stood nevertheless, And listens like a three years’ youngster: The Mariner hath his will” (1.13-16). The wedding guest is compelled to listen, as if he is below a spell. A 3 year old child does not have significantly say more than what happens in his or her life, and likewise, the wedding guest does not have a selection more than whether he stays to listen to the mariner’s story or not. He would choose to go to the wedding, but is held by the mariner’s gaze. “He cannot choose but hear” (1.18 and 38). Mesmerism was the word they employed for hypnosis in the Eighteenth Century simply because it had to do with the inner mind and probably the unconscious, subjects that Coleridge was extremely interested in. Not only is the wedding guest forced to listen to the story but the Mariner is also forced to tell it. “Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched with a woeful agony which forced me to start my tale and then it left me free” (7.578-581). The mariner have to inform his tale otherwise he will remain in agony. “I pass, like evening, from land to land I have strange energy of speech That moment that his face I see, I know the man that must hear me: To him my tale I teach” (7.586-590). When he relates his tale, it releases his agony, but it adds to the agony of the listener, who “is of sense forlorn: A sadder and a wiser man” (7.623-624). The mariner’s tale is so vivid and magical that it captures the reader’s consideration as properly, as if they also are mesmerized. As soon as the mariner has begun his tale, neither he, the listener, nor the reader can stop.

Coleridge presents The Albatross is presented as Christ- like and returns to it frequently throughout the poe to illuminate the elements of supernaturalism. “Through the fog it came as if it had been a Christian soul” (1.64-65). The Albatross is a very good omen, specially when it is following the mariner’s ship and watching out for the crew’s security. “And a excellent south wind sprung up behind the Albatross did follow” (1.71-72). The fog and mist and the wind the albatross brings imply that it has some sort of divine power. When the mariner shoots the albatross it is symbolic of breaking the bonds in between humans and nature. Only right after the albatross is gone does the mariner comprehend how a lot he required it. “And I had completed a hellish point, and it would work ’em woe: For all averred, I had killed the bird that made the breeze to blow” (1.91-94). This calm that ensues is an eerie stillness, a mariner’s worst nightmare, since they have been reliant on the wind for movement. “Instead of the cross, the Albatross about my neck was hung” (two.141-142). Coleridge portrays the albatross as Jesus, and many painters of this time in fact depicted the albatross as becoming crucified. As Coleridge writes later in the poem, the albatross loved the Mariner, just like Jesus as soon as loved the people who crucified him. The albatross hanging about the Mariner’s neck separates the him from the rest of the crew due to the fact it is a visual symbol of his sin. As soon as the Mariner realizes the beauty of the globe and his connection to nature, he unknowingly blesses the creatures he after saw as cursed. “The self-exact same moment I could pray and from my neck so cost-free The Albatross fell off, and sank like lead into the sea” (4.288-291). The albatross falling off the mariner’s neck is a symbol of his redemption. The mariner has discovered to really like and to see beauty in nature. It is as if some larger power has lifted his burden lifted from him. Even so, as soon as the albatross is gone, the mariner can by no means neglect his sin. The curse that comes from the death of the Albatross is inexplicable, and Coleridge requires the reader to suspend disbelief and appear beyond the events to unearth symbols of punishment and redemption.

One particular of the most ghastly events in the poem is when the ghost ship arrives, bringing Death and Life-in-Death to gamble for the souls of the crew. At 1st, the mariner and crew are excited, “And [The mariner cries], a sail! a sail” (3.161). As the ship draws nearer, even so, the chilling realization dawns on them that “Without a breeze, with out a tide, she steadies with upright keel!” (3.169-171). The truth that this ship is moving although their own is stuck supplies a frightening contrast among the two. The movement without wind is scary simply because it is logically not possible. This, nonetheless, is specifically the reason Coleridge chose to incorporate the ghost ship, because he is exploring the supernatural in his perform. The calm atmosphere also signals some strange goings-on. The sailors are are cursed, not in a position to move, the mariner’s is not able to die. The “ghost ship” is a classic mythical/ supernatural element. The crew of this ship is created up of only two “people,” Death and his mate, Life-in-Death. Coleridge describes the ghost ship as having “ribs,” an image that parallels the mariner who is old but unable to die. “The naked hulk alongside came and the twain have been casting dice” (3.195-196). Death and Life-in-Death are gamble for the souls of the crew, which also a really traditional myth, comparable to the myth of Davy Jones. Death takes the souls of all the crew members but Life-in-Death wins the soul of the mariner, signifying that the he will live, but his life will be like death, which is a worse punishment than Death itself. Leaving life to chance shows the lack of manage human beings really have more than our own lives. In this way, Coleridge makes use of the supernatural element of the ghost ship to represent the fragility and unpredictability of human life.

The abrupt alterations in climate are strange and unnatural, and show the presence of a higher power who controls it all. When the Albatross comes, it brings fog and mist to cover up the vibrant sun. It also brings a crucial breeze to hold the ship moving. Upon the bird’s death by the Mariner’s hand, the blessings immediately cease. “All in a hot and copper sky, the bloody Sun, at noon” (two.111-112). The scorching sun turns red, the sea modifications colour and all kinds of strange slimy sea creatures come out at evening. These occurrences cannot be explained although nature. It would not seem so unnatural if it had occurred slowly, over time, but the fact that this happened proper soon after the albatross died makes it seem much less coincidental. As soon as the Mariner recognizes the interconnectedness of nature, he is able to sleep. Nevertheless, an additional change happens in the climate, he says, “And when I awoke, it rained” (5.300). Not only does the rain come only when the mariner’s mindset is changed, but the wind also abruptly returns, “And soon I heard a roaring wind” (5.309). This weather pattern is explicable through science, but the fact that it happens straight after the Mariner’s repentance offers it a supernatural top quality. It is as if some greater energy is producing pathetic fallacy in the poem, only because of the circumstances the rain and wind are deemed to be very good. Even although the Mariner is “rescued” at the end of the poem, he still has a curse upon him. This would clarify his happiness when he sees the rain. It is bittersweet. At the time it comes the mariner is overjoyed to feel it, but he knows it is only a short-term pleasure, because he is now forced to walk the earth telling his tale. Likewise, the Mariner and the crew certainly do not appreciate the heat and intensity of the sun although they are parched. Even so, a good balance in between sun and rain, wind and calm would be very best. When the mariner shoots the albatross, it is as if he ruins the balance of nature and can only restore it by way of his prayer and repentance.

Spirits, which Coledridge utilizes to personify specific aspects of nature are maybe one particular of the most frightening elements of supernaturalism in the poem, at least for the Mariner. The first spirit is “the Spirit that plagued us so nine fathom deep he had followed us from the land of mist and snow” (2.132-134). Spirits also take the form of ghosts in the grotesque figures of Death and Life-in-Death. For the Mariner, some of the most scary spirits are those of his dying crew, who every single curse him as they die. “Each turned his face with a ghastly pang, and cursed me with his eye” (4.214-215). The Mariner utilizes a simile for the souls passing by him, comparing their movement to the whizz of his crossbow. This is significant due to the fact this is the same tool the Mariner employed to kill the albatross. The wedding guest fears the Mariner may well be a ghost himself due to his strange powers and skeletal appear, but the Mariner assures him that he is not. Nonetheless, the Mariner may possibly choose becoming a ghost more than this fate. When he initial awakens following his soul is taken, he thinks “that [he has] died in sleep, and [is] a blessed ghost.” By referring to a ghost as blessed, the Mariner insinuates that he would take into account that fate a greater choice than the one particular he is saddled with. When his dead crew all rise up as ghosts and start to steer the ship, the Mariner is frightened. “’Twas not those souls that fled in pain, which to their corpses came once again, but a troop of spirits blest” (5.347-349), he tells the frightened wedding guest. Despite the fact that the Mariner is scared by the ghosts’ harmonies, he recognizes the beauty of it all.

When the Mariner overhears two spirits talking about him and the suffering he has endured and has yet to endure is an allusion to the Holy Spirit, which the Mariner would acquire upon his salvation. Spirits represent an element of supernaturalism and fear, but also personify forces of nature like life, death and retribution. When the spirits all harmonize, their sound signifies that the universe has been put back it is appropriate, organic order once more.

General, the components of supernaturalism in Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” force readers to suspend their disbelief in order to totally comprehend the symbolism and meanings behind the magical scenes. The Albatross has many magical, divine aspects to it, with its capacity to bring the fog, mist and wind, and its adore for the Mariner reflects a enjoy of Christ as effectively as the interconnectedness of nature. The ghost ship is a single of the most pure mythical components in this poem, symbolizing the lack of manage human beings have over our own lives. The weather is yet another crucial component of supernaturalism, signalling the imbalance that the Mariner creates in nature by the shooting the albatross and the subsequent restoration of that balance by a divine energy. The final elements of supernaturalism are the different spiritual beings. These add an element of fear, and but symbolize the order of the universe and remind the Mariner and the reader of the impending afterlife.



Performs Cited:

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The Broadview Anthology of British Literature. Comp. Joseph Black, Leonard Conolly, Kate Flint, Isobel Grundy. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview, 2007.
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