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“And every soul it passed me by, Like the whiz of my crossbow!” Why is the choice...

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thenerdystraw... | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 24, 2012 at 7:00 AM via web

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“And every soul it passed me by, Like the whiz of my crossbow!” Why is the choice of words in this simile especially appropriate, considering the Mariner's actions (from "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner")?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 24, 2012 at 1:41 PM (Answer #1)

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" tells the tale of the Mariner who failed to consider the consequences for his actions (prior to killing the albatross). Not only does the Mariner fail to consider the consequences, he fails to recognize the importance of nature in life.

In regards to the use of the simile (a comparison between two things using "like" or "as" to make the comparison), the Mariner failed to think about the albatross when he took aim, fired his crossbow, and killed the bird. Likewise, the souls which passed him did so with the same indifference he showed to the albatross.

Therefore, the simile is appropriate given it compares the Mariner's earlier actions (the firing of the crossbow at the albatross without concern) and applies it to how the souls pass the Mariner.

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