Death, Birth and Rebirth in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"Why do the men die again? Did they ever change? Speaking of death & rebirth, where's the bird?

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I guess if you want to focus on the theme of re-birth you might want to consider how we could argue that the Mariner is symbolically "brought back to life" after his terrible experience. Although he doesn't "die" in the way that his fellow crew-members died, it is clear that he does go through a spiritual "death" that only ends when he blesses the water snakes and is able to pray again.

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The crew notices a boat on the horizon which speeds toward them despite the lack of wind.  This is our first clue that it is a supernatural event.  The women on the boat are Death and Life In Death.  They play a game of dice to see which woman will win the crew and which will win the Mariner.  Death wins the crew...so they die.  Life In Death wins the Mariner, and he is destined to live forever and tell his story over and over.  The crew rises again because the spirits (angels) possess their bodies in order to sail the ship faster than the speed of light back to the Mariner's home port.  Afterward, they die again, and the ship and crew sink as the Hermit and others rescue the Mariner from the water.

kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

The men died after the mariner shot and killed the albatross, a bird that is a good omen for sailors.  After the mariner has experienced his epiphany about nature and how he should respect it and all its creatures, spirits inhabit the crew only in order to return the mariner to his homeland. The crew, unfortunately, cannot "come back to life."  This is part of the mariner's burder that he must carry, that his actions caused the crew to suffer death, never to return to mortal life.  

As for the albatross, once the mariner has his epiphany, the albatross slips off the mariner's neck and falls into the sea.

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