The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Samuel Coleridge’s poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” describes a lamenting story about a sailor who, for no good reason, shoots down an albatross that was following his ship while sailing. The sight of an albatross is a considered a good omen to sailors. When the Ancient Mariner shot it down, killed it, and therefore placing a curse upon the crew for his awful deed.
The telling of this story could possibly be as a result of an opium-induced stupor, instead of a morality lesson. It is well known that Coleridge began a drug habit as a child and severely debilitated him later on in life ("Poetry Foundation"). The poem speaks of strange mystical creatures, slimy things and brilliant colors. There is even a conversation going on between two beings (angels?) that decide that the Ancient Mariner will continue to repent for his sin.
The poem has a very supernatural element, similar to that of the Greek adventure “The Odyssey” The ghost ship that floats in without wind houses “Death” and “Life in Death”. A beautiful naked woman “Life in Death” wins the soul of the Ancient Mariner and “Death” claims the lives of the sailors on the ship. Ultimately, it seems the ship has suffered its journey for many, many years, cursed along side the Ancient Mariner. “Death” releases them from their curse, leaving the Ancient Mariner to the fate of “Life in Death.” He is sentenced as an immortal to repeat his story for all eternity; he will wander the earth seeking an audience for temporary relief from his pain.
The Ancient Mariner is forever doomed to suffer his story by retelling to it to strangers, like a thirst he can never completely satisfy. He has some power in his “glittering eyes” to compel the wedding guest to stop and listen to the story. Is the Ancient Mariner supernaturally gifted and selectively chooses his target by some inner conscience or is it a random lottery as he chooses his next captive audience? While the story...