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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - minor choices and significant impacts

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Introduction

Many seemingly minor choices have significant impacts upon those individuals which make them. In "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," the Mariner commits a seemingly minor action which has significant results. "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is representative of the journey which the Mariner must undertake as a result of his action. The journey present in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" takes the Mariner from sin to punishment, to repentance, and forgiveness. The Mariner shoots the Albatross with no motive; he does so for sport. By killing the Albatross, the Mariner commits a crime against creation as he destroys a good omen. By killing the bird, he is disrespecting all of nature and commits a sin: "all creatures great and small the lord God created them all." Since the Albatross is hailed "as if it had been a Christian soul" and the Mariner kills it with his "crossbow," there is an association of the crime with the crucifixion of Christ: "Instead of the cross, the Albatross / About my neck was hung"(ll. ...read more.

Middle

The sun beats down on the Mariner with its rays and the Mariner feels the taunting of the endless sight of water which he cannot drink. Nature is the force that has the power to decide what is right or wrong and how to deal with the actions. The Mariner receives a sufficient punishment: "I looked upon the rotting sea, and drew my eyes away; I looked upon the rotting deck, and there the dead men lay." As all the crew members die and the Mariner lives on, the Mariner witnesses the curse in the eyes of the crew's corpses, whose last expressions remain upon their faces, for seven days and nights. As the bird falls into the water, it demonstrates the change from punishment to penance. As Life-in-Death wins the game, the sailors drop down dead. The Ancient Mariner is now "Alone, alone, all, all alone." The period of "horrible Solitude" produces repentance and regret. ...read more.

Conclusion

"The Albatross around the Mariner's neck is a symbol emblem of an inner state;" as it "fell off and sank," the Mariner is forgiven. The Mariner asks God to forgive him for his sins. When the Mariner prays for forgiveness, the curse preventing the souls of the crew from entering Heaven is broken; the Mariner's life is spared and Angels from Heaven escort the souls of the dead crewman to the afterlife. "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" takes the Mariner on a journey from sin to punishment, to repentance, and forgiveness. The Mariner sins against God as he kills the Albatross. As punishment, the sun beats down on the Mariner with its rays and the Mariner feels the taunting of the endless sight of water which he cannot drink. The ultimate repentance of the Mariner is that he must tell the tale to certain people. The forgiveness of the Mariner is present by the fact that the Mariner is forgiven as the Albatross falls from his neck. ...read more.

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