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Theme of Isolation in the Ancyent Marinere

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Tutor Marked Assignment Q Alone, alone, all all alone, Alone on a wide wide sea And Christ would take no pity on My soul in Agony Comment on the theme of isolation in "The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere" as a whole. To what extent do you think it is a Christian poem? Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the story of the Romantic archetype, the Wanderer, the man with the mark of Cain (who killed his brother), doomed to be a restless wanderer on the earth and was once alienated from God's presence "so lonely 'twas that God himself scarce seemed there to be". Isolation is a state of separation, solitude or loneliness and has been explored in varying degrees throughout this poem; from geographical, social, to spiritual. Why has Coleridge gone to great lengths to perpetuate this theme throughout the "rime", what is the significance of Isolation in conveying his message? In Chapter I, the ship is driven by storms to the South Pole where there were "ne shapes of men ne beasts we ken" and "the ice was all between". The ship and its crew were geographically isolated from the rest of the living world due to the unbeatable force of nature; they saw no living creatures, but were surrounded by Ice; the extreme opposite of warmth, like blue sea, blue skies, green islands, and the colourful sea creatures; which was probably the scene when they were on the equator. ...read more.


Next the mariners were robbed of speech, (a source of communication that can ease loneliness and pain) because of thirst, making the ancient mariner even lonelier and the accusing looks he had from his crew made it even clear that he is just as alone in this as he was when he killed the bird selfishly without considering his shipmates. Finally the mariner is left completely alone in this tormenting atmosphere of Isolation and Darkness, when Death takes the lives of these two hundred men. The mariner was not given the ease of death, but a purgatorial suffering in Isolation where all he has is his thoughts, his heart and his soul. Why such a horrible penance for a killing a bird? The mariner did not just kill the bird, he was selfish and proud, he challenged God by thinking that he can be the sole navigator of the Ship, he did not require aid from above; he did not consult his crew before taking matters into his own hands and he did not stop to reason on the possible risk that he may expose his crew too, he was too self occupied to consider the mechanics of the world at large. Is this not a similar situation with mankind? Too often we think that we are the sole navigators of our lives and we fail to consider the creations, beauty and people around us and the important roles they play in our destiny, we spend way too much time thinking inwardly. ...read more.


Like Cain, the Ancient Mariner angers God by killing his beloved creation. More candidly, the Ancient Mariner can be seen as the archetypal Judas or the universal sinner who betrays God by killing his messenger. Like Judas, he murders the "Christian soul" who could lead to his salvation and greater understanding of the divine. Some readers have gone as far as interpreting the Albatross as Christ, since it was a messenger from God sent to save the souls of the men on the Ship, and the Mariner's unbelieving heart killed it, just like the unbelieving hearts in Coleridge's era of Revolution, trying to close down the churches. Another Christian representation is when The Albatross is hung around the Ancient Mariner's neck as a symbol of his sin just like Christ carried the cross on his shoulders symbolising the sin of all mankind. The rain was a symbol of baptism which is meant for the cleansing from sin and curse. In the end, the Ancient Mariner becomes a strange prophet, (just like John the Baptist was a prophet in the wilderness) kept alive to spread the word of God's reality to God's chosen ones "the moment that his face I see, I know the man that must hear me, to him my tale I teach" Coleridge projects Isolation as the last resort to knowing God, because it is only in that moment that we are desperate and at loss of other options, then God becomes our only hope. ...read more.

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