1 Answer | Add Yours
Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" features a protagonist that loses his former self and his shipmates due to a casually careless and cruel act, and is led to regeneration by his losses.
The Mariner is not intentionally cruel. He kills the albatross on a whim. He just doesn't respect nature as part of existence and God's creation. Natural forces, in the form of the supernatural, teach him a lesson. By the time he accosts the wedding guest he knows better than to disrespect nature. His purpose, in fact, in cornering people and telling them his story is to convince them to respect all of God's creatures. He suffers loss and is led to regeneration.
The wedding guest, too, undergoes a bit of a transformation and regeneration. He is dismissive of and disrespectful to the Mariner at the beginning of the poem, but subdued and passive after he is forced to listen to the tale. Thus, the possibility of regeneration does exist--the Mariner and the guest demonstrate this.
The Mariner's intent, his message, is in some ways an old one, of course. Yet Coleridge avoids being didactic (preachy) by altering the traditional Christian message from faith and following God to loving and respecting nature. Humans need to repent their lack of respect of all of nature, not their lack of faith in God. He also avoids being didactic by creating a work of outlandish imagination, full of supernatural beings.
We’ve answered 319,200 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question