Discuss the supernatural elements in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

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

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This literary ballad clearly contains many fantastical elements that are obviously supernatural. Important to note is the way that Coleridge in this poem creates a spirit that embodies Nature itself, called the Polar Spirit, that pursues the ship and rains down suffering and punishment on the vessel because of the thoughtless act of the Mariner in killing the albatross. However, arguably these supernatural elements are used as a way of presenting the torments that guilt can inflict on the human soul and the terrible expiation necessary for those who sin against nature in such a shocking fashion.

Of course, the pain and guilt experienced by the Mariner are a product of the pain and guilt of Coleridge himself, as suffered through his opium addiction, and so we are left to wonder if the fantastical elements that feature so strongly in this poem are dreamt up out of the opium-fevered imagination of its author. Either way, the supernatural elements show the force of The Polar Spirit, representing Nature, and the danger of taking Nature for granted.

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