The albatross is described to be "a Christian soul" and it was acclaimed at great lengths: "We hailed it in God's name." The mariner and the crew are extremely delighted to see something alive amidst the escalating ice

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Arkesh Patel 4C1

Crime and Punishment

The albatross

“At length did cross an Albatross.” Against the darkening grey fog, the bird glided across in pure white.  It stood out in contrast.  It was made to be something celestial.  Destined to come, it was able to proceed through fog that would have usually delayed the travels of any creature.  Despite unideal conditions it proceeded through an unclear phase of mist.  The bird was a “Christian soul” as they “hailed it in God’s name.” It was a messenger of God, a disciple and follower of Christianity.  Being an omen of good luck, it heightened our spirits and eradicateed all our doubts.  The majesty of the albatross is seen during day as it flies and follows.  While at night it shimmers a white glow, a genuine coat of radiance.  Despite its grandeur and beauty, its time was certain to come.  Just as it had been destined to come, it had been destined to go.  With one random, unmotivated action, the bolt of a cross-bow whizzed into the albatross sending it into eternal sleep.  It was no other than the mariner himself who had shot the albatross.    

What about this description would make its killing akin to murder?  To sacrilege.

The albatross is described to be “a Christian soul” and it was acclaimed at great lengths: “We hailed it in God’s name.” The mariner and the crew are extremely delighted to see something alive amidst the escalating ice that they treat the bird as if it were human and as if it had a soul.  The bird was a lifeline in the middle of a freezing desert.  The mariner however at the time of slaying the bird thought that the life of an albatross could in no way be equated to the life of a human.  This however is incorrect, and there is one particular aspect of both lives that connect.  In both the life of a human and the life of an albatross, there is a spark of life and in a pantheistic sense, God can be found in both.  A great lesson the story teaches us is that there is one life running through all of nature, man bird or beast.  If we diminish life in some other existence, we also diminish ourselves.  When the Christian sailors assemble for “vespers”, the albatross is present too while the prayers go on: “It perched for vespers nine.”  Because of this and the fact that the albatross was seen as a “Christian soul”, the bird is made a Christian as well - a messenger from God.  When the mariner kills the albatross, he commits a grave killing and sin as the Ten Commandments state: “Thou shalt not kill.”  However, more importantly the mariner commits a heresy and a profanity by killing the albatross, as it was regarded and labeled by the crew as a fellow Christian.  The killing of the albatross can be seen to be an act of sacrilege when compared to the history of Christianity.  Hailing the bird in God’s name and then shooting it is somewhat no different than lashing a spike into Jesus’s Cross.  When the mariner killed the albatross, he killed a part of God as well. The killing can be seen to be parallel to a murder in many aspects.  A “murder” is usually the killing of a human while a “killing” has connotations that link it to the death of animals and creatures.  In this case the albatross’s death would link to a “killing” but on a more abstract level the albatross is seen as a human.  The albatross is seen as a human in many ways.  The bird is given a soul.  The bird is identified to have God present within it.  Although the poem expresses that there is a part of God in all of nature, we never contemplate this idea and hence the idea of God in an albatross stands out to be a human-like quality.

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How do the sailors ally themselves to the crime and make themselves accomplices after the fact?  2 ways.

The sailors of the ship seem to become accessories in the killing of the bird.  After the slaying of the albatross, the thoughts of the mariner and the reactions of the crew are expressed clearly: “And I had done a hellish thing, and it would work ‘em woe: For all averred, I killed the bird that made the breeze to blow.  Ah wretch! Said they, the bird to slay that made the breeze to blow.”  In this verse, the crew does ...

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